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Full text of "Thinkdigit Magazine 2007-11"

Questioning Values 



NETWORKING SITE FACEBOOK last month sold a mere 
1.6 per cent of its stake to Microsoft— for a substantial 
$240 million. The valuation of the popular social net- 
working site was pegged at $15 billion. Compare that 
with Netscape's valuation of $2 billion in 1995. 

I'm wondering what the valuation indicates. 
Could numbers put things in perspective? 

A recent report by UK-based Datamonitor, a 
provider of online database and analysis services, 
stated that social networking sites will sign up 230 
million active members by the end of this year, 
attracting new users until at least 2009. The report 
titled The future of social networking: Understanding 
market strategic and technological developments also 
says revenues from social networking services will 
go to $965 million this year, to go up to $2.4 billion 
by 2012. 

Even so, investors in such sites are wary because 
long-term growth here is not a guarantee. The report 
predicts that growth— in terms of the number of users 
signing up— will peak by 2009 and plateau by 2012. 

I'm naturally reminded, by this hype, of the dot- 
com boom. There are two reasons. First, about net- 
working sites currently being fuelled by innovation 
around the communication possibilities— can it pos- 
sibly be wise to base a business strategy purely around 
innovation potential? It doesn't seem like the sites 
can ensure a prolonged period of sustained innova- 
tion; so what are Microsoft and the others thinking? 

Second, are advertisers willing to spend enough 
on networking sites? In fact, do these sites even have 
an advertising revenue plan? Facebook's current 
advertising strategy is that it's developing an adver- 
tising strategy... 

Most importantly, these are personal spaces. Adver- 
tising is likely to only distract from, if not disrupt, the 
experience. 

During a panel discussion of advertisers at a 
recent Internet summit, some expressed apprehen- 
sion in regards to associating their brands with the 
possibly risque or inappropriate material that gets 
generated on such sites. Even if the sites do get adver- 
tising, it will, like I said, very probably just annoy site 
members and make them migrate to a new one. There 
are as many social networking sites as Web mail 
providers, it seems; besides, the loyalty and stickiness 
of this internet generation is not a given. 




"Are social networking sites really the 

next-generation portals, or flash-in-the- 

pan communities?" 

Michael Cassidy is president and CEO of Under- 
tone Networks, an online ad network. It was he who 
gave Netscape the valuation I mentioned. He has now 
said in an interview that it is a "big waste of money" 
for advertisers to buy ads on social networks like Face- 
book and MySpace. Users of those sites "are going 
there to interact with their friends and play with their 
profile," he says. "They're not in the frame of mind to 
respond to an ad." Yes, frame of mind. Take a look at the 
now ad-saturated MySpace and you'll see what I mean. 

Ultimately, are social networking sites really the 
next-generation portals, or flash-in-the-pan commu- 
nities? We can't make a comparison to the dot-com 
event, really; things have changed a lot. From the hard 
facts, all we know is that it could turn out either way. 
Some— like Microsoft and Google— are betting on the 
former possibility. I personally wouldn't, but it'll be 
interesting indeed to see how it turns out. A new 
chapter in Web history might just begin. 



v-C 




editor@thinkdigit.com 





November 2007 • Volume 7 • Issue 11 

Chairman 
Jasu Shah 

Printer, Publisher, Editor & Managing Director 
Maulik Jasubhai 

Editorial 

Executive Editor Deepak Ajwani 
Head of Writers Robert Sovereign-Smith 
Sr. Writer Nimish Chandiramani 
Writers Samir Makwana, Asfaq Tapia, 
B G Prakash, Bhaskar Sarma 
Sr. Copy Editor Ram Mohan Rao 

Test Centre 

Assistant Manager Sanket Naik 

Reviewer Jayesh Limaye, Michael Browne, 

Rossi Fernandes 

Product Reviews Co-ordinator Yogendra 



Design 

Creative Head Kabir Malkani 

Head - Editorial Design Rohit A Chandwaskar 

Chief Designer Shivasankaran C Pillai 

Senior Designers Vijay Padaya, Sivalal S 

Designers Chaitanya Surpur, Shrikrishna Patkar, 

Nilanjan Ghosh 

Photographers Jiten Gandhi, Sandeep Patil 

Multimedia 

Content Head Robert Sovereign-Smith 

Content Coordinator Nimish Chandiramani 

Sales & Marketing 

Vice President 
Bibhor Srivastava 

Marketing 

Marketing Communication Thomas Varghese 
Senior Executive-Sales Support Ramesh Kumar 

Production and Logistics 

GM - Operations Shivshankar Hiremath 

Production Manager Mangesh Salvi 

Logistics M P Singh, Vilas Mhatre, Mohd. Ansari, 

Shashi Shekhar Singh 

Circulation & Subscription - Sales 

GM Circulation Milind Prabhughate 
Co-ordinator Rahul Mankar 
Subscriptions Mahesh Malusare 
Customer Service Prerna Panchal, Sneha Sen 

Head Office: Editorial, Marketing 
and Customer Service 

Plot No D-222/2, TTC Industrial Area, MIDC 
Shirvane, Nerul, Navi Mumbai 400 706 
Phone: +91 022-27629402/9403 
Fax: +91 022-27629274 

Cover Design Rohit Chandwaskar 
Photograph Jiten Gandhi 



Tell Us What You Feel About Digit 

Each month, Digit walks through the technology 
maze to bring you the most relevant, most 
researched stories. If you have an opinion about 
anything published in Digit, or about technology 
in general, please write in to 
editor@thinkdigit.com 




□ 



Product Testing 

Want your product reviewed by Digit? 
Contact our Test Centre at sanket_naik@jasub- 
hai.com 

Software On DVD/CD 

To submit and suggest software for 
inclusion in the Digit DVD or CD, contact 
us at cdcontent@jasubhai.com 




Help! 

For subscription or copy-related issues, 
send an e-mail to help@jasubhai.com 
You may also contact the following 
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Contact ramesh_kumar@jasubhai.com 

Disclaimer: For every Digit contest, there will be only one 
winner, unless specified otherwise. In the event of a 
dispute, the Editor's decision shall be final 



Advertisers 7 Index 



Client Page 

ACI 37 

APC 23 

Canon Back Cover 

Cricket Today 39 

Dell 14-15 

Kingston Inside Back Cover 

Kreeda.com 63 

MSI 21 

NDTV 49, 93 

Nanopoint 75 

Reseller Brand 30-31 

Ricoh 19 

Samsung Cover Gatefold 

Samsung 7 

Soft-Aid 29 

Symantec 33 

Timex 83 

Top Gun 107 

Viewsonic 13 

XFX 117 



Products Reviewed This Month 






HARDWARE 


Galaxy 6501 LT 


Jetway M28GT3-SDG 


Athlon 64 X2 6400+ 


Motherboards 00 


Galaxy 680i LT SLI 


JetwayJM2A692-GDG 


Athlon 64 X2 BE-2300 


For Intel Socket LGA775 


Gigabyte (HDMI) GA-G33M- 


MSI (HDMI) K9AGM2 (690G) 


Athlon 64 X2 BE-2350 


Abit (HDMI) Fatality F-190HD 


S2H 


MSI K9AGM2 (690V) 


Sempron 3600+ 


Abit Fatality FP-IN9 SLI 


Gigabyte GA-G33-DS3R 


Zebronics ZEB-N61M2 


Sempron 3600+ 


Abit IP-35 E Off Limits 


Gigabyte GA-P35 - DQ6 




Sempron 3800+ 


Abit IP-35 Pro Off Limits 


Gigabyte GA-P35 - DS3R 


Processors 00 




ASUS Blitz Extreme 
ASUS BLITZ Formula 


MSI G33M 
MSI G965MDH 


Intel 

Intel E4400 


Bazaar 00 


Hardware 


ASUS Commando 


MSI P35-Diamond 


Intel E6300 


HP Compaq 2510p 


ASUS P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP 


MSI P35-Neo 


Intel E6400 


Sandisk Sansa Shaker 


ASUS P5B Premium Vista 


MSI P35-Platinum 


Intel E6600 


Leadtek Win Fast DTV1800 H 


Edition 


MSI P965 Neo 


Intel E6700 


LG Black Label Series KE970 


ASUS P5B-E 


MSI P965 Platinum 


Intel E6750 


"Shine" 


ASUS P5K Deluxe WiFi-AP 


XFX MB - N650 - IUL9 


Intel E6850 


Sennheiser PXC 450 


ASUS P5K Premium 


XFX MB-N680-ILT9 


Intel Q6600 


Buffalo DriveStation TurboUSB 


ASUS P5K3 Premium 


Zebronics ZEB-650i SLI 


Intel QX6850 


250 GB (HD-HS250U2) 


ASUS P5K3 Deluxe WiFi-AP 






Brother MFC-5460CN 


ASUS P5N32-E SLI 


For AMD Socket AM2 


AMD 


Viewsonic PJ258D 


ASUS P5N-E SLI 


Abit (HDMI) AN-M2HD 


Athlon 64X2 4200+ 




ASUS Striker Extreme 


ASUS M2A-VM 


Athlon 64X2 5000+ 


Software 00 


Biostar Tforce P965 


ASUS M2A-VM HDMI 


Athlon 64X2 5200+ 


Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0 


Biostar TP35D2-A7 


ECS AMD690GM-M2 


Athlon 64X2 5400+ 


CopyToDVD 4 


ECS P 35T-A 


Galaxy (HDMI) AN68M 


Athlon 64X2 5600+ 


CAD-KAS PDF Editor 2.6 


ECS P33T-A 


Gigabyte GA-MA69G-S3H 


Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 


ACDSee 2 Pro 



Printed and published by Maulik Jasubhai on 

behalf of Jasubhai Digital Media Pvt Ltd, 

26 Maker Chambers VI, 2nd Floor, Nariman Point, 

Mumbai 400 021, India and Published from 

Mumbai 

Editor: Maulik Jasubhai, 26 Maker Chambers VI, 

2nd Floor, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021 

Printed at Magna Graphics (I) Ltd, 

101 C & D Government Industrial Estate Kandivli, 

Mumbai 400 067 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



To Advertise 


South 


Phone: (022) 40373636/ 


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International Representative 


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Taiwan 


Mobile: +91 9341829285, 


East 


Mr.Marc Sonam, Image Media 


Phone: (080) 25546370-73 


Jayanta Bhattacharyya 


2F-2, NO. 35, Sec. 2, 


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E-mail: jayanta_ 


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E-mail: suvarna s@jasubhai.com 


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Mobile: +91 9324928247 


Phone: +91 9312658374, 





Enter 



DIGITAL PASSION 




16 

Vinay Goel spoke 
to us about 
Google's ultra- 
useful new SMS 
service 

16 

Linux drivers 
being non there 
is a thing of the 
past, and it'll get 
even more of a 
distant thing 

24 

Sadly, more 
Vista-bashing-is 
it jinxed? 

24 

UMAon your 
phone? Find 
out if it's a 
good idea! 



^^ Festive Special 

Festive Shopping 

Ho-ho-ho (in a desi accent)... 'tis 



:)... 'tis the festive 
season, and weep as it might, your wallet's out. 
Here's exactly what to buy-for yourself or for all 
those expectant faces around you 



Take A Crack 

Create A Context Menu 
Item To Mail An IE Page 

Yes, that's right. And it's not a trick question- 
there is a solution! Not all that useful a 
function, but a toughie to crack nevertheless 




25^ 



40^ 



Insight 

Under The Die 

Skip this one if you design chips, 
but most of us don't know how 
the well-known "silicon chip" 
becomes what it is: a real, 
working component of a 
computer! Well, here's the story 



Lead Feature 

Clickety-Clack: 
Googlewhack! 

Here's our Cover Story for this month-a 
serious look at what one Indian security 
analyst claims is a flaw in Google's AdSense 





Droolmaal 

An eclectic collection of stuff this month to just ogle at and 
forget-our Droolmaal regular. Featuring a new UMPC, a 
"portable DJ-ing system," a porsh gaming wheel (pun 
intended), and more-including a luscious cooling system 



Contents Magazine 



DIGITAL TOOLS 



45 f 



Enhance 

An Improved Office 

MS Office is good as it is, and few will dispute that. 
But how about slapping a few small things onto it 
that will make it-and you-even more productive? 
No coding required! 



Tips & Tricks 

We go the Flash way this month: something to get 
you started with that just-got-to-love-it piece of 
software. Then, we demystify all those terms you 
come across in Media Player Classic-not to forget 
more tips on Windows Vista 




78) 



Bazaar 

Featured this month in our 
ever-popular products 
section: an odd phone, a 
weird MP3 player, the 
Sennheiser PXC 440 
(circumaural), a ViewSonic 
projector-and more. You'll 
want to whip out your wallet- 
guaranteed! 




Test Centre 

The Silicon 
Ecosystem 

Motherboards and processors 
go together-compatibility, optimum 
performance, and so on. So here's 
The Great Big Huge Annual 
Computer-Fundamentals Shootout! 
Besides, it's the festive season, and 
what better time to get a new 
computer? (Happy in the knowledge 
that you're making a sound 
decision?) Turn to the page! 



^50 



8 DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Business 



Smart Business 

Get Noticed, Get Clicked 

Optimising your site for search engines-that 
is, SEO-need not be an investment. Just do 
it yourself! Be warned, though-there are no 
shortcuts 



^108 



103 \ 




Smart SoHo 

Learning To Share 

Proxy servers are-or should be-used in all 
businesses. We've spoken about this before, but 
here's a solution for smaller businesses. It uses a 
software called Proxy+ 



Trend 

Bookworms Or 
Veterans? 

Are IT recruiters getting the 
idea that on-paper 
qualifications don't mean as 
much as they used to? Here's 
what some recruiters-of 
candidates with some 
experience-think 




November 2007 



Digital Leisure 



115^ 

Touched By Tech 

At Sea No 
More 

Tech needs to trickle 
down-and trickle down 
to those who need it 
most: the tillers of the 
soil and the harvesters 
of the sea. Learn how 
this is being done 




132 \ 



Tabloid Tech 

Music Lovers: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! 

We've got some pretty overdone stuff this month-sorry! 
McCartney is back, now with guitar lessons, and there's 
news about another leaked video (which is said to be "hot"). 




Game On 

Old & New 

Half-Life 2: Episode 2, 



is, well, just the second 
episode-don't expect too much. But 
Portal, Lost Planet and World in 
Conlfictare fresh as daisies-and 
they won't disappoint 



Escape 



Opinion Poll 17 

The Digital World 18 

Beat That 20 

Stat Attack 22 

Buzzword Of The Month 22 



30 Days with 32 

Q&A 94 

Agent 98 

The A-list 100 

Whatever Happened To 124 



l/Ak - ^^ 



123 

You wouldn't 
have thought up 
the smiley your- 
self, now, would 
you? 

124 

If you aren't the 
kind kind, you'll 
certainly want to 
take a look at 
Hatebook 



Bluff Your Way Through 126 

Digit Diary 127 

Blogwatch 127 

Tech Quiz 128 

Inbox 130 





NOVEMBER 2007 DIGIT 9 




IBM Lotus Symphony offers 
something for everyone-a 
community-oriented site, a 
template gallery, and tips and 
support to help you succeed. Lotus 
Symphony supports Microsoft 
Windows and Office applications. 

Peanut Butter PC 2.2 



♦ 



oooooo 



Peanut Butter PC is used by 
parents, grandparents, schools, and 
daycare centers. Peanut Butter PC 
lowers the barriers to learning by 
creating a straight-forward, kid- 
friendly interface for your PC. 
Adults and children can learn how 
to use Peanut Butter PC quickly and 
easily without any training. 

■ 3D Topicscape Student Edition 
Beta 1.0 



# 



Topic istifid 

£tud«il Edition 

iSoftMaker Office 2008 Beta 
iAstroGravl.4.2 
ilngoLingo 1.02 



KompoZer 0.7.10 

KompoZer is a 
complete web 
authoring system that 
combines web file 
management and easy- 
to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. 

■ Microsoft Insider: Bonus Insider 
Tip SP1 

■ PyPE 2.8.7 

■ PostgreSQL Code Factory 7.5.0.1 

■ NAntBuilderl.O 

■ RJ TextEd 4 






ZT 


& 


h- Z^L 


ST-HS' 1 ' ' ' 



FREE 

Dance Mela 



Dance Mela is India's first Multiplayer Online Dancing Game. 
Groove to the latest Bollywood hits. Enter the never-ending 
party. For Digit readers only: Register at 
http://dancemela.kreeda.com/partner/digit/ to get your 
free points! 



FREE 

Vega Strike 

Vega Strike is an Open 
Source 3D Action-Space- 
Sim that lets you trade, 
fight, and explore in a vast 
universe. 



DEMOS 

Escape from 
Paradise City 

The demo gives 
players a taste of the 
upcoming game which 
combines RTS and RPG 
elements against a 
backdrop of a crime- 
infested seaside city. 
In the two available 
demo missions, taken 
directly from the 
campaign, players will 





be challenged to take over neighborhoods infested with vicious 
gangs while earning new skills and hiring henchmen in your quest 
to take over the city. 



MULTIMEDIA 

SONY Vegas Pro 8.0 Build 144 




Combines real-time SD, DV and HDV 
video editing with unrivaled audio tools 
to provide the ultimate all-in-one 
environment. Install the .net 3.0 
Framework from this DVD before 
installing Sony Vegas 

Claymation Studio Trial 



bubbles, icons, captions, and clipart to 
bring to life whatever story you can 
imagine. Comic Book Creator will work 
with any JPEG, BMP or GIF digital image. 

■ CyberLink PowerDVD 7 

■ Recomposit 1.9 

■ Site Studio 6 Pro 

■ Toon Boom Studio 4 



SYSTEM 

Nero 8 8.1.1.0 Ultra Edition 



■ NovaBACKUP8.0 
INTERNET 

HP Smart Web Printing 2.0 



• • • 




hL 



7ZZ 
.» a*— *#"— ^—— - ©*— * 






Claymation Studio helps you to easily 
create stop motion videos.. Capture 
images using a digital camera, webcam 
or DV camcorder, create characters, 
apply small changes, and add background 
images and music to create your own 
claymation movies. 

Comic Book Creator-Self 
Publishing Software 1.04 

Add text bubbles to your digital 
screenshots, as well as classic comic book 
features like Powerful action-word 
graphics that emphasize the game play. 
Select from one of the 500 unique layout 
and design templates; drop in your 
captured digital images; and insert text 



Using Nero 8 Ultra Edition you can now 
create and edit, convert and share, rip 
and burn, backup and protect your digital 
media, all from one easy-to-use interface! 

Parallels Workstation 
2.2.2204 



"This enhancement to Microsoft Internet 
Explorer improves upon lE's ability to 
print what you see on the Web page. HP 
Smart Web Printing allows users to: 
Select text and graphics easily from any 
web site and save a handy list of 
clipsSave paper by combining portions 
of numerous web pages Preview and 
modify clips before printing " 

Joost for Windows 1.0 Beta 



^§°& 



Parallels ® Workstation 

Mi StltmMm IfitwrtoMMnM. Int.. 



Joost is a new way of watching TV on the 
Internet. You get all the things you love 
about TV, including a high-quality full- 
screen picture, hundreds of full-length 
shows and easy channel-flipping. 

■ BitTorrent Mp3 2.5.7.0 (Adware) 

■ Skype Recorder 1.2 

■ VoiceMask Pro 1.2 




Parallels Workstation is a powerful 
desktop virtualization solution that 
empowers IT professionals with the ability 
to develop, test and deploy in multiple 
operating systems on a single PC. 

■ .net Framework 3.0 

■ Norton Antivirus Definitions 9/30/07 

■ Office 2003 Service Pack 3 

■ FileSee 6.30 

■ NOD32 Antivirus 3.0.414 

■ Norton 360 1.0 Final 




10 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



For any queries regarding the CD or DVD, e-mail help@jasubhai.com with "CD/DVD" as the subject. If the subject is not 
mentioned, your mail might not reach the right person. 



INTERACTIVE 



OPENSUSE 10.3 (DVD) 

openSUSE provides everything today's Linux user needs for home computing and computing-on- 
the-go. This product includes a Linux operating system plus dozens of essential integrated tools 
that showcase the latest that open source has to offer. Boot from this DVD to install openSUSE. 




Entertainment 




Utopia is also known as "Atoll K" and 
"Robinson Crusoe Land." This is last film 
Laurel and Hardy made together. It was 
filmed and produced in Europe in 1951. 

MUSIC 

Sophomore Jinx by Rob 
Costlow-Solo Piano 



to social and political commentary, 
Allison covers her favourites-in a range 
from rock and pop through roots and 
blues, folk, jazz and more. 

Samadhi by SaReGaMa 



Rob Costlow 
Sopriomore Jinx 

So.DPi.m& 




gBMBHIiM 



The artist's description: "Sophomore Jinx 
is my first professional recording effort. 
This album is about second chances, 
hopes, dreams, and following my 
passion." Preview this album in the Digit 
Media Player 

Peace in The Valley by 
Jennifer Avalon 



A collection of songs that are both 
spiritual and thought-provoking. A 
journey through life, love, 
disappointment, triumph and rebirth. 

Live at Wood Hall (originals) 
by Allison Crowe 

Live at Wood Hall is a journey through 
the artist's concert repertoire, recorded 
at the Conservatory of Music, (a 
converted church chapel), in Victoria, 
British Columbia, Canada in March, 
2005. Alongside more than an album's 
worth of original songs of love and hope 



The artist's description: "Samadhi is the 
highest state of mental concentration or 
absorption that a person can achieve 
while still bound to the body and which 
unites him with the highest reality" 

Wild and Free by DEREK 



DER£hCiw 



Wild and Free is an instrumental 
compilation of various feelings. An 
invitation in the journey where the west 
and the east merge varied atmospheres 
with guitar for witness. 




n COMPACT 

mm 

DIG TAL DATA 



VA. 



Ashampoo Burning Studio 2008 

Ashampoo Burning Studio has changed the way 
CD/DVD/Blu-ray burning software works. 

Ashampoo Office 2006 

With Ashampoo Office 2006 you can get your 
work done faster, with higher quality and for a 
fraction of the cost of some other office suites. 



MULTIMEDIA 

ReValverMkll 




The basic aim 
of the game is 
to build a 
tower made of 
droplets of 
goo (which 
you are able 
to stretch into 

beams of goo to support your tower). 

The higher your tower, the better. 

■ Letteria 

■ Madness Interactive 

■ Motocross The Force 

■ The Euchmich Legacy 

■ Well Of Souls 

DEMOS 

Scavenger 

One human, 
one droid and a 
Scavenger class 
space ship. 
Enter the Star 
Hulk Icarus on 
one last 
mission: to 
locate and capture the Energy Source. 
It was to be a simple job, but nobody 
mentioned the alien mass spreading 
across the massive vessel's interior. 



ENTERTAINMENT 



MUSIC 

Thread Soul by Revolution 
Void 

Revolution Void 
combines electronic 
music with live 
improvisation to 
create a style of 
music called 
electronic breakbeat jazz. 

We Edit Life 

The creator's 
description: 
"Experimenters in 
visual perception are 
using computers to 
create weird and random patterns that 
never occur in real life to find out what 
and how people see when these 
patterns are shown to them. The art of 
computer graphics is only in its 
infancy yet it is already stimulating 
creative thought in far out areas 
where research is likely to get complex 
and unwieldy. If offers not only the 
means to quicken the pace of 
discovery but an ideal of 
communicating what we may discover" 






ReValver Mk II is a second generation 
guitar amp modeler. It models several 
"classic" amps with a lot of detail, and 
most of all, capturing the true nature 
of the vacuum tube sound. Over 15 
programmable features of each tube 
stage can be set with a graphical 
interface. Every tube in all amps can 
be tweaked. As many as 17 tube types 
are included to choose from. 

■ AVS Audio Editor 3.6.1.30 

■ CoffeeCup Flash Firestarter 7.1 

■ D'Accord iChords 2 

■ Nendo 

■ Virtual DJ 5 

SYSTEM 

Exposer for Windows 

Exposer is the revolutionary way to 
visually represent all the open 
windows on your desktop and expose 
them to you. 

■ ATI Catalyst 

■ CDBurnerXP 4.0.015.277 

■ Double Driver 1.0 

■ Folding@home for Windows XP/Vista 

■ GPU 5.91 Beta 6 

■ Mousotron 

■ NVIDIA ForceWare 

■ NVIDIA nTune 

■ TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.8 Beta 

■ Vispa 0.1.1 

■ Wubi 7.04.04 

■ CopyToDVD 

■ Desktop3D 1.5 

■ SlyControl 

■ SpeedCommander 12.00.5130 Beta 3 

■ WinForcer 3.2 

■ WinPatrol2007 

INTERNET 

Orbit Downloader 2.1.5 

Orbit Downloader, leader of 
download manager revolution, is 
devoted to new generation web 
application downloading to make 
downloads easier and faster. It is a 
free all-in-one downloader which can 
download streaming media, social 
music or video from anywhere 
include YouTube, MySpace, iMeem, 
Pandora, etc. 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 H 



Online 




By Demand 

You get to choose what goes 
on Digit Interactive. This 
month, you chose: 

Sony Vegas Pro 8.0 

Size: 73 MB 

OpenSuSE 10.3 

Size: 4.1 GB 




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your favourite magazine! 




Web Special 
On The Lot 

All the gear you need to 
make your first open 
source movie 
(Log on to www.thinkdigit.com) 








ssiifrmrn v 



AdSeise: 

Hoied? 



R 




This Month's Question Vote at www.thinkdigit.com 



What do you think of government-imposed security measures in cyber cafes, 
such as key loggers, ID checks, and security cameras? 

□ They're important for homeland security 

□ They intrude on our privacy 

□ ID checks and cameras are good, key loggers are not 

□ Corrupt government officials may misuse our data 



What is your opinion about owning a laptop* 



I have one, 

but I use it 

quite like a 

Desktop 

39.41% 




They're 

only a style I own one and 

statement- use it a lot on 
not for me the move 
15.52% 17.88% 




plan on 
getting one 

27.2% 




taste technology at 



www.thinkdigit.com I 



FEATURED TUTORIAL FROM DIGIT FORUM (www.thinkdigit.com/forum) 

This month we feature a member tutorial from the forum here. 




Tutorial: Learn How to create an invisible folder 



11-10-2007, 
10:23 PM 



adiCted 




Fresh Stock 
Join Date: 
Nov 2006 
Posts: 9 



Create an invisible folder 

You ever have a folder on your computer that you really 
dont want any one to find? You can make this folder 
hidden but then you have to un-hide all the folders 
when ever you want to find it. So how can you make a 
folder truly invisible? Follow these simple steps and your 
unmentionables will stay that way. 

1. Right-click where ever you want the invisible folder to 
be and select create a new folder. 

2. Right-Click on the folder and hit rename. Erase the 
name of the folder so there is nothing there. 

3. If you try to stop here windows will tell you that you 
need to provide a name. So to get around this... with 
the name field still active hold down ALT and press 
0160 on the number pad (make sure 

Num Lock is on), release alt 
You should now have a blank name 
with nothing but a folder next to it 

4. Now click on the nameless folder and 
right-click. Select Properties. 



a 



5. Go to the Customize tab. 

6. Find and press the Change Icon 
button. Scroll 

through the icons «****.!. m*. 
until you find one 
that has no image. 

7. Hit OK and you 
have an invisible 
folder! 
With the invisible 

folder you can hide what ever undesir- 
ables you have. Be it video games at 
work, pictures of your family or any- 
thing else you can think of "wink". 

The folder will show up for a brief second if you put 
it on your desktop. For that reason it might be smart to 
place it inside a folder or amongst a group of folders. 

Happy Hiding! 
For more visit: 

http://www.thinkdigit.com/forum/showthread.ph 
p?t=70402 




1*-^-1 1Zs3)G 



The New-age Napster 

Napster has changed its revenue model yet again. Now, 
subscribers pay a monthly fee to access the catalogue. 
Napster said mid-October that it is launching a Web- 
based platform that will make Napster compatible with 
any Internet-enabled device. 




"YouTube Video Identification" 

YouTube recently launched a copyright-protection 
system for content owners in which they could send in 
a master copy of their work, and any infringing videos 
relating to that content could be taken off the site if 
requested. The filter has received mixed reviews. 



You QH 

Broadcast Yourself * 



■ Enter 





,TECL 
<; TALK' 



Vinay Goel 

Head of Products 
Google India 



The Google SMS service has been 
launched in India. You can now 
send directory- 1 ike search queries 
to Google via SMS from any 
handset-find a pizza outlet near 
Peenya, Bangalore, by sending an 
SMS to 54664 with the query: 
"pizza near Peenya Bangalore"! 
We asked Vinay Goel of Google 
India about related issues. 

Will you extend the service to 
smaller cities too? By when? 

For now we're focusing on 
Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and 
Mumbai, because users here will 
have the fullest access to 
information through the service. 
Google SMS is also available in 
other cities, but not all the search 
categories will be immediately 
available. As we get more user 
feedback, we will add more cities. 

Any tie-ups to report? 

Google SMS is currently available 
on the Airtel, Aircel, BPL, BSNL, 
and Reliance networks. 

Apart from saving locations, 
will the service store personally 
identifiable information? 

It will, as outlined in our Mobile 
Privacy Policy-which can be 
found at our Web site. Users can 
opt out of personalisation by 
sending "Save off" to 54664. 

Any plans for a Web directory 
service-like AnyWho.com, for 
example-for India? 

We have also launched Google 
Local Search and Local Business 
Center as a part of our efforts to 
help users find locally relevant 
info. This includes listings of local 
businesses (movie theatres, 
ATMs, restaurants, etc.), weather 
forecasts, and more. Local 
Business Center allows business 
owners to add/edit their business 
information for free using a Web 
interface-www.google.com/ 
local/add-so their listings are 
easily found by users. 



DRIVING LINUX 



Dumping The Linux Device Driver Kit 



Every newbie who 
installed Linux came 
to know of it the hard 
way— Linux needs stable, 
working drivers for tons of 
peripherals. The current 
answer to this is the Linux 
Device Driver Kit- 
documentation designed by 
the Linux kernel 
community for 
hardware 
manufacturers. 
Manufacturers could 
also choose from the 
nearest drivers and 
reverse-engineer them to 
work with the hardware. 

This process was not 
always fruitful. 
Considering its small 
user base compared to 
Windows, not many 
companies were 
interested in dabbling 
with Linux drivers. And 
then, hardware vendors 
have been wary of 
opening up their 
device designs or 
Application Program 
Interface (APIs) to the 
open source 
community. Another 
obstacle is the fact 
that most companies do 
not favour drivers they 
didn't develop themselves. 

Now, a project from 
Novell is offering to write 
free drivers— for any 
manufacturer who is 
willing to open up the 
specifications of their 
hardware. 

It's not a new project— it 
was announced last year by 
the main developer, Greg 
Kroah-Hartman, a 
programmer at Novell. But 



mid-October, Kroah- 
Hartman posted an update 
on his blog, announcing 
that Novell had moved him 
onto the project full-time. 

Kroah-Hartman is an 
influential Linux kernel 
hacker; his original blog 
post called on 
Linux 




programmers 
to offer their services 
for free to any company 
that wanted to write Linux- 
compatible drivers for their 
products. He also proposed 
that all that was required 
from the companies was 
the specs, and perhaps a 
technician who could be 
frequently e-mailed when 
help was needed. He 
requested sample devices so 
that debugging didn't have 
to be done over e-mail. And 
what would the 
manufacturers get in 
return? A fully-functional 



Linux driver that is added 
to the Linux kernel 
resource tree, and which is 
updated with every kernel 
revision. 

Dangling the marketing 
carrot, Kroah-Hartman 
went on to say that since 
the drivers would be 

included in the Linux 
kernel, it would be 
supported by the 
largest number of CPU 
types in the history of 
computing! 

For manufacturers 
wary of sharing their 
protocols and 
specifications, Kroah- 
Hartman clarified that if 
required, companies 
could approach the Linux 
Tech Board to draft Non 
Disclosure Agreements 
(NDAs) for the 
programmers working 
on the drivers. 
Companies that were 
earlier apprehensive 
of showing their 
proprietary 
protocols were now 
allowing programmers full 
access to their APIs under 
the NDAs. Kroah-Hartman 
and his team are willing to 
sign NDAs for the actual 
details of the devices that 
the companies give out, all 
the code generated will be 
licensed under the GPLv2. 
Manufacturers therefore 
wouldn't even need to 
worry about supporting the 
drivers; the community 
would take care of that 
(since the drivers would be 
incorporated in the kernel). 
Some Linux community 
members are apprehensive, 



XBox Live service launched in India ■ Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg most influential in tech industry, says Silicon Research 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




Security Watch 



Skype Targeted 

Skype has reported a 
vulnerability that can be 
exploited by a Trojan. 

The PWS-Pykse Trojan relies 
on social engineering 
techniques to trick the victim 
into executing it; it is usually 
posted on dodgy sites or 
forums. The Trojan has also 
been known to spread through 
IMs and spam. 

It appears as an installer 
with the Skype logo and named 
"SkypeDefenderSetup.exe". It 
infiltrates systems when 
downloaded. 

A fake Skype interface 
appears with the username and 
password fields. On entering the 
details, a message appears: 
"Your Skype username and 
password are not recognized. 
Please check and try again". 
And while the user keeps trying, 
the Trojan sends the user's 
Skype credentials along with 
other logins and passwords 
stored in Internet Explorer to 
the attacker. 

The Solution 

There's only things you can do- 
update your virus definitions, 
and avoid clicking on instant 
messages with links or read 
spam (you wouldn't, of course). 
In addition, just be wary of 
installing any add-ons to Skype. 



though: they argue that 
any future programmer 
updating the Linux kernel 
drivers would need the 
same level of 
understanding that the 
original driver developer 
received by looking at the 
manufacturer 
specifications. 

It goes to be seen how 
far this Linux initiative will 
go, but this move by Novell 
is, in general, great news 
for Linux users— and could 
certainly mean better 
device support on 
various distros. 

GAME BLAME 

Chinese 
Universities 
Ban Personal 
Computers 



Games like EverQuest 
are all the rage in 
China, and as you 
might have a clue about, 
the authorities aren't very 
happy about it. China being 
China decided to do what it 
does best— apply a ban. So 
later this year, when 
students join college for the 
first time, they will not be 



allowed to bring their 
laptops or PCs with them— 
at the country's top three 
universities: Zhejiang 
University, Nanjing 
University, and Shanghai 
Jiaotong University. The ban 
is applicable to all first-year 
students, irrespective of 
whether or not they are 
doing a computer course. 

The ban seems rather 
unenforceable, considering 
that quite a few students 
have found ways to install 
the games on computers in 
university labs (ostensibly so 
they can play them at 
night). 

A small poll conducted 
at Shanghai Jiaotong 
University revealed that the 
ban will have no effect 
whatsoever: after having 
spent a year playing the 
games in clandestine 
fashion, we presume, most 
of the students polled plan 
to get their laptops or PCs 
the next year and continue 
with their gaming. Some in 
China believe the only way 
to be rid of the "menace"— a 
word the authorities in 
China seem to like to use— is 
to approach the root of the 
problem and educate 
youngsters on the perils of 
continuous gaming. 

This is not the first time 
China has proposed a ban 



Mail, 
unlimited 

Yahoo!, Rediff, 
and Zapakmail 
have announced unlimited 
e-mail storage space. 
Microsoft bumps it up to 
5 GB for Live Mail. It's 
pretty much the same old 
storyof catch-up. 




liUV 



Gm il 






Stuck on old glory 

Gmail, the 

original 

catalyst of 

large 

inboxes, 

recently upgraded its space 

to (just!) 4 GB in spite of 

rumours speculating a 9 GB 

upgrade. Leaves us not a 

little surprised-haven't they 

been following the news? 



on gaming— with the hope 
of creating the perfect 
working-class society. Back 
in April, the government 
hoped to limit the number 
of hours kids spent 
on online games by 
reducing game credits for 
excessive play. 

Essentially, China is 
trying hard to wean its 
citizens from dependence 
on computers and get them 
to be more responsible in 
the real world. Of course, 



Opinion Poll 



What do you think of government-imposed security measures in cyber cafes, such as key loggers, ID checks, and 
security cameras? (You, too, can participate in this poll— at www.thinkdigit.com) 



iThey're important for homeland security 

]ID checks and cameras are good, key loggers are not 



0They intrude on our privacy 

HCorrupt government officials may misuse our data 



D! I do think the information will be mis- 
used. But if implementation of such security 
measures is stringent, it will 
scare away unethical users 
from using 
cyber cafes. 

Naveed Patel 

Casanova 





B for me. It's difficult to track down the 
culprit if a public computer is used. 
Checking of ID is extremely 
important, but storing and 
retrieval of video from CCTV 
could be difficult. 

Yash Maheshwari 

Nagpur 




I don't like the idea of passing my personal 
details to a stranger. The owner of the 
cyber cafe could forward the 
logged information to telemar- 
keters for quick money. And I 
don't think key loggers would 
help track a terrorist. 

Saurabh 

Mumbai 

C, because I do not think these measures 
will help in tracking down a criminal. 
These measures are simply a 
pain for 'normal' users and 
personal information could be 
misused, leading to harass- 
ment or even blackmail. 

Rajbir Singh 

Ludhiana (Punjab) 



~M 



It's C for me. I don't think these security 
measures will help in any way. Cyber cafes 
will never turn away a cus- 
tomer for not producing an ID. 
Key loggers may already have 
been installed by cyber cafe 
owners illegally. 

Kaushik Patowary 

Guwahati 





B is a good option. I think the Government 

should have a database of verified users. 

When a user logs in from a 

public system, he should need 

to enter his username and 

password to log on to the Net. I 

don't like cameras monitoring 

me but I can live with them. 

P C Shyamshankar Chennai 




(You, too, can participate in this poll— at www.thinkdigit.com) 



RIAA sues Usenet, calls it source of all piracy ■ Greenpeace finds "hazardous chemicals" in iPhone ■ Microsoft Live launches GTD and Wiki service 






DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



17 



Enter 



I The Digital World 



A Round-up Of Technology News From Across The Globe 




SOUTH AFRICA 

The Sunday Times now offers 
news the easy way via Net- 
connected phones. Readers 
move their phone cameras over 
the front-page bar code to get 
access to the respective sites! 



AUSTRALIA 

The Government has proposed 
an energy rating system for 
TVs. Current plasma HDTVs 
might soon be banned-a 
majority of them guzzle too 
much power. 



one could think up theories 
of all sorts— get rid of the 
Western Influence, perhaps, 
or get citizens to believe in 
the virtues of regimented 
hard work. In any case, half- 
baked laws like this one can 
only lead to what any old 
ban means— Work Around. 
But do not forget that the 
Chinese government, while 
progressive, still wields 
power of the sort that can 
say, "No more games." Or 
perhaps "No more 
American games." 

WE SAW THIS COMING 

Health 
Records Go 
Online...? 



Imagine a family doctor 
looking up your medical 
history online after 
you've gone to him or her 
with a complaint. On the 
face of it, it seems a good 
idea: everything is 
categorised, your doctor 
needn't ask you for too 
much extra information, 
and so on. HealthVault, a 



Web service Microsoft is now 
offering, stores your medical 
records online. For once, this 
comes before— something 
we're now anticipating— 
"Google Health." 

The site incorporates a 
health-specific search engine 
and lets you save your 
searches. The money will 
come in to Microsoft 
through health-related ads 
on the search pages, but 
those won't be targeted ads— 
for now. Access to the site 
will require a Windows Live 
ID and password, which you 
can, of course, share with 
healthcare providers. 

Now the system just 
allows you to enter personal 
details along with medical 
statistics like blood pressure, 
blood glucose levels, and so 
on. So what happens if you 
enter something incorrect? 
There's no way a doctor can 
add medical details to your 
profile, so it's hardly a 
formal programme— the 
information is unverifiable 
by a medical expert. As a 
matter of fact, the site 
proclaims, "HealthVault was 
built on the principle that 
you should control your own 
health records." Unless we're 



missing something really 
obvious here, we thought 
doctors should tell us what 
we're suffering from. 

In 2001, EPIC (the 
Electronic Privacy 
Information Center) filed 
complaints alleging that the 
Microsoft Passport system 
facilitates online profiling. 
EPIC claimed Microsoft 
officials had stated that the 
goal of the system was to 
create a profile of every 
Internet user, to "up-sell" 
individuals to subscription 
accounts, and to use 
targeted advertising. 

Some are alarmed: they 
can see a problem with too 
much information getting 
online. It's all usernames 
and passwords as of now; 
people tend to reuse 
passwords— and then there's 
the idea, pretty much 
Passport-like, that you 
should have a single sign-in 
for all your services. Perhaps 
we'll have something beyond 
passwords when we get to 
"single sign-on to the Web," 
but that's another story. 

"Whether you need to 
search the Web for the most 
up-to-date treatments, 
catalog existing health 



records, receive test results, 
or monitor current physical 
readings, HealthVault gives 
you the control you need," 
goes the verbal jingle. 
Search the Web? It's been 
reported that too many 
searches bring up porn 
results, even searches for 
which Google's general 
search engine brings up 
fewer porn results. 
Catalogue health records? 
Why, we do have paper and 
files. Receive test results... 
how about posting or 
e-mailing them over? 

It just seems a push to go 
online, online, online— with 
little justification or even 
attraction. Along the lines of 
EPIC, we don't see much but 
targeted advertising here. 

CATCH-UP 

Yahoo!- 
More Google 
Than Ever! 



Various search engine 
comparisons and polls 
have been done by 
people or bodies with 



18 



Reliance ties up with OLPC project to bring $100 laptops to India ■ USB drives to appear in record stores to build up sales of physical media 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Enter 




Image Ashish Tripathy, Chennai 



varying authority, and 
Google almost always comes 
up tops— and, as you know 
all too well, Live Search and 
Yahoo! seem perennially 
locked in a fight for #2. 

But slowly and quietly, 
Yahoo! is making 
improvements to its search 
engine, and that has not 
gone unnoticed in the 
Webosphere. The new 
Yahoo! Search incorporates 
some slick features which 
bestow upon Yahoo! no 
bragging rights. 

Changes include the 
Search Assist tool, a space 
that shows up below the 
search field and suggests 
keywords as you type in 
your query. Then there's 
integration of the user's 
query with Flickr photo 
tags on the search results 
page, audio snippets when 
a music band or song name 
is searched for, and the 
inclusion of inline video 
elements on the search 
results page. 

No-one is very 
impressed, because even if 
it's cool, it's been done 
before. Google has had the 
blended search option for a 



^ s =;s=-s^ s=sr - 



while now. The Search 
Assist tool is a clone of 
Spotlight in AOL Search 
and of Google Suggest, and 
Ask.com's Smart Box 
features. 

One thing must, 
however, be said: in a 
recent test conducted by 
Web analysis firm 
Compete, Yahoo!'s search 
query replies generated 
more clicks than Google's 
or Microsoft's. Now how 
many competitors are 
there to Compete, we don't 
know, so... 

The company says more 
improvements are in the 
pipeline. We'll look 
forward to them. 

SOON UP FOR GRABS 

•Asia 

Domains- 

Finally 



The Internet 
Corporation for 
Assigned Names and 
Numbers (ICANN) recently 
approved a proposal for 



creating .asia as a top level 
domain name by 6 
December 2007. 

Currently, registration 
for that domain is limited to 
businesses that can prove 
they are functioning in the 
Asia-Pacific region. 
Registration can be done 
from the 90-odd authorised 
registrars in the region till 
15 January 2008. After that, 
businesses can register 
without the need to prove 
that they operate from the 
region. Public registration 
will begin by February, 2008. 

It has been well planned 
out. Registration being 
limited to bona fide 
businesses running out of 
the region thwarts the 
menace of cyber-squatting— 
buying a popular-sounding 
domain to sell it later at a 
higher price. The ICANN has 
decided to continue with 
the practice of verifying the 
business industry a buyer 
belongs to before 
registration of a site. All 
.asia domain registrations 
will be overseen by the non- 
profit DotAsia Foundation. 

According to research 
conducted by the ICANN, 11 



That: 



Digit Caption 

"Quantum leap- from lap 
to desk!" 



Last Month's Winner! 
Ratish k p 

Hyderabad 

"CPU: Cool Paan Unit! " 






E-mail your caption with the 
subject "Beat That", and your 
postal address, to 
beatthat@thinkdigit.com_ 

and win 
C# 2005 

by Adrian and Kathie | 
Kingsley-Hughes 




Published by 

®WI LEY-INDIA^ 

percent of all domain name 
registrations occur from the 
Asia-Pacific region despite 
the region having an online 
population of 33 per cent of 
all Internet users. The Web 
arrived in Asia much later 
than in the West; popular 
.com and .net domain 
names had already been 
taken by North American 
and EU users, therefore the 
push for a .asia domain. 
Moreover, it gives a geo- 
specific flavour to 
businesses. It is interesting 
to note that .eu is the only 
other regional, non-nation- 
specific TLD. 

FOR KERALA STUDENTS... 

Free 

Software 
Becomes 
Compulsory 



The Director of Public 
Instruction for 
Education in Kerala 
has issued an order 
informing all schools in 



Asus officially launches the Eee PC: Linux, 7-inch, Intel, 512 MB, less than 20K ■ China "hijacking" Google, Yahoo!, MS search sites, redirecting to Baidu 



20 I DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Enter 



tif^ SlAT ATTACK 

^ It's all tn the numbers 



Worldwide PC Shipments (in millions) 




3 fi 

a 2 



2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 



Legacy data centres use 300 
to 400 watts of power per 
square foot, and by 2011 this 
could rise to more than 600 
watts. 



Only one out of five PC 
monitors sold in the 
Asia/Pacific region 
(excluding Japan) is now a 
traditional CRT 



Worldwide, each 
day, about 40 
billion person-to- 
person e-mails, 
17.1 billion auto- 
alerts, and 40.5 
billion spam 
mails are sent. 



Indian broadband 

connectivity 

methods: ADSL is 

at 83%, followed 

by cable at 10% 

and Ethernet LAN 

at 3.4%. And 1% 

actually have fibre 

connections! 



the state to start computer 
classes from standard VIII 
onwards on open source 
software. This comes a year 
after the Kerala 
government declared that 
all schools in the state 
would only run on open 
source software. 

Till last year, schools 
had the freedom to 
conduct computer 
examinations based on free 
or Microsoft software. 
When the computer 
literacy program— 
Akshaya— was started in 
schools all over the state in 
1995, it used Windows. 
Licensing costs of Windows 
being too high, it was 



shelved half a year later. 

Due to popular 
demand, the government 
had to reinstate the 
programme using free 
software tools that were 
half-baked, not ready for 
the classroom 
environment. It was then 
that the government 
announced that all schools 
would get a modified 
version of open source 
software suited for 
classrooms within the 
next year. 

Currently, the schools 
run a customised version of 
Ubuntu called IT@School 
GNU Linux Version 3.0. This 
software is available to 



students in classes VIII, IX 
and X. The syllabus and the 
question papers are either 
biased towards free software 
or they are platform- and 
application-neutral. 

The Kerala government 
is also doing its bit to 
popularise open source 
software like The GIMP 
and OpenOffice.org by 
arranging digital art and 
presentation competitions 
at the state level, and having 
workshops on the 
advantages of open source 
software. 

Open source software 
(OSS) seems to be catching 
on in India thanks to the 
Central and State 
Governments' efforts. The 
Karnataka government uses 
OSS for all its computers. It 
has also mandated the use 
of Kannada software— 
NUDi— to create government 
documents in Kannada. 
BSNL uses open source OSes 
in all its offices around 
India. The Kerala 
government is also planning 
to network all schools, 
postal offices, and district 
headquarters with a state- 
wide wide area network. 
Look at more e-governance 
projects being taken up by 
the Government at http:// 
egovindia.wordpress.com. 

DOUBLING DRIVES 

Storage in 
The News- 
Again 



w 



estern Digital 
recently 
announced the 



world's highest-density 
hard disk drive. It has a 
capacity of 520 GB. 

What's special here is 
that this was possible due 
to recent successes in 
reducing the size of the 
head - the part that reads 
and writes data to and 
from off the disk surface. 
As the size of the head 
reduces, it can read from 
denser areas of the disk, 
thereby increasing the 
amount of data you can 
store on a platter. 

Disk heads of today run 
on the Tunnelling 
Magneto-Resistive (TMR) 
technology, that read and 
write data using the 
principles of 

electromagnetic induction; 
with certain advances in 
nano-manufacturing, 
Western Digital has been 
able to shrink the head to 
about 50 nanometres. 

Hitachi— one of the 
other pioneers in hard disk 
technology— is, however, 
sceptical of TMR for the 
future; it has claimed that 
TMR is impractical for disk 
drives with a capacity of 
more than 500 GB. Hitachi 
has predicted that by 2011, 
disk capacity will reach 
4 TB. 

This will, according to 
Hitachi, be possible using 
the 30 nanometre 
manufacturing process for 
heads. It also plans to do 
away with TMR and use a 
new technology based on 
"Current Perpendicular-to- 
the-Plane Giant Magneto- 
Resistance" (CPP-GMR). This 
will arrange data bits 
vertically in smaller 
crystalline grains that are 
stable at room 



Buzzword 

oTtfieMONTH 



Universal Flash Storage 

Be it a digital camera, mobile phone, PDA, or other 
such gadgets, you need to know about the compatible 
memory card format. 

Universal Flash Storage (UFS) is a newly-proposed 
open standards-based specification for the 
standardisation of removable Flash memory. The 
standard promises high data transfer speeds, fast 
speed access to large media files, greater storage 
capacities, and a decrease in power consumption-and 
most importantly, it is hoped that it will become a one- 



size-fits-all solution. Too good to be true? Could be. 
Several mobile phone technology and semiconductor 
companies support this specification, but many users 
are sceptical-saying it'll become just another format. 

Besides, what about the billions of gadgets and 
consumer electronic devices already sold? Memory card 
manufacturers make money off proprietary formats, 
and they might not take to UFS too kindly... and we'll 
have to wait until 2009 for even the UFS specification 
to get finalised. 



Ubuntu 7.1 released ■ Die Hard DVD to also carry DRM-free AVI file ■ Apple to fire up Intel dual- and quad-core Penryn-based Mac Pros 



22 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Enter 



WHATWHEHWHYWHEREWHOHOW 

H 

WHAT WH E N WH Y WH ER E W H DHOW 

Universal Mobile Access 
What is it? 

LIMA (Universal Mobile Access) 
is a technology that allows you 
to use your GSM phone on 
accessible WiFi, WiMax, and 
Bluetooth networks. The local 
network devices become like 
mini cell sites. 

How does it work? 

A UMA-enabled mobile has GSM 
and Wi-Fi radios that can work 
simultaneously. When the phone 
moves into the range of a 
Wireless LAN (connected to the 
Internet), the user connects to a 
UMA Network Controller (UNC). 
The UNC authenticates and 
authorises the user and updates 
the IP and MAC addresses on 
the central network of the 
mobile service provider. This 
done, all GSM services are 
routed through IP to the 
location of the user. The 
switching of network happens 
automatically and seamlessly, 
without the user's knowledge. 

Why will anyone be 
interested? 

UMA reduces the burden on 
cellular towers, and covers 
poor-coverage areas such as 
inside buildings, tunnels, and 
basements. It reduces 
transmission costs of calls as 
well. Customers see fewer call 
drops, better voice clarity, and 
increased browser speeds. 

Who developed it? 

It is a standard accepted by 
members of the 3rd Generation 
Partnership Project (3GPP). 

Where is it currently 
deployed? 

T-Mobile has been providing 
the UMA system in the US, and 
now has 8,500 WiFi hotspots. 
TeliaSonera, a telecom 
company, provides the service 
in Norway, Finland, and 
Sweden. 

When will you see it in 
India? 

We don't know about other 
manufacturers, but you can 
expect to see India's first 
UMA-enabled Nokia phones in 
the first quarter of 2008. 



temperature, and will 
allow the creation of 
denser drives that will also 
last longer. 

Back in June 1995, 
Fujitsu had announced a 
different method of 
creating disk drives - by 
using an anodised 
aluminium coating. This 
creates "nano-dots" on the 
surface of the disk, which 
are later magnetised to 
store a single bit of data. 
The anodised aluminium 
protects each dot 
individually, thereby 
reducing the 
chances of data 
corruption. (This is 
known as the 
patterned media 
approach, which 
we've spoken about in 
an earlier issue.) 
Currently, the 
company has 
announced the radius 
of each dot to be 
around 25 
nanometres. Fujitsu 
aims to bring that 
down to 13 
nanometres, which 
makes for 4 TB of 
data per square inch! 
The company hopes 
to get this 
technology out by 
2010. 

But while we're 
going on and on 
about hard disk 
technology, we're 
wondering what happened 
to holographic memory! 
Last we heard, there was a 
lot of buzz around its 
capabilities: 
4 GB in a volume at the 
millimetre range. 

Daewoo Electronics had 
also designed a working 
prototype, and, indeed, 
TDK came out with 
holographic-storage disks - 
but the drive is 
ridiculously expensive. 

In conclusion, it does 
look like there's plenty to 
look forward to when it 
comes to the good old hard 
disk - it's not going to die 
anytime soon! Unless 
there's a breakthrough in 
nanotube storage - but 
that's a big, big "unless." 



AHEAD OF ITS TIME? 

Dump Vista, 

They're 

Saying 



f I |he general consensus 
in tech circles for 
*X» some time now has 
been that Windows Vista 
does not deliver what it 
promised, or work how it 
should, or satisfy. That idea 
has now been reinforced by 




Illustrations Harsho Mohan Chattoraj 



the Dutch Consumers 
Association: it has said all 
computer outlets in The 
Netherlands must provide 
XP "downgrades" to all 
Vista users who are not 
satisfied with it. 

As you might know, this 
is not the first time a body 
has said, in effect, "Perhaps 
Vista isn't good"; in April, 
Dell had buckled (in the 
US) under consumer 
pressure to give users the 
option to select between XP 
and Vista after having 
made Vista the only 
operating system available 
on new laptops and 
desktops. 

The fact that Microsoft 
has extended the 
availability of Windows XP 



by five months— up until 
June 2008— also isn't going 
to help the sales of the new 
operating system. As if 
attesting to the tech 
community's claim that 
the OS was released before 
it had been sufficiently 
tested for bugs, the 
company offered to give 
disgruntled Vista 
customers a copy of 
Windows XP. 

A recent survey by an 
independent specialist 
business and consumer 
technology research 

company, Context, 
indicated that sales 
of Vista have 
actually dropped by 
17 per cent in the 
last few months, 
contrasting with 
steady sales of 
Windows XP. 

Vista has been 
plagued by product 
launch delays— the OS 
was supposed to have 
been launched in June 
2006, and eventually 
only became available 
in January 2007— and 
poorly-performing 
drivers (such as those 
for NVIDIA graphics 
cards). Bucketsful of 
bugs will be addressed 
in Service Pack 1. 

Vista critics stand 
redeemed: Microsoft 
plans to release Service 
Pack 3 for Windows XP 
by early 2008, which will 
borrow features from Vista! 

Microsoft's constant 
patch releases for the 
seemingly ill-fated OS has 
not stopped well-known 
bloggers like Om Malik 
from dismissing Vista as 
being unstable and an 
unnecessary upgrade. 

"Reinstall XP, Remove 
Vista," goes the header of 
one of Malik's posts dated 
May 2007. In fact, who has 
said Vista is just great? 
People know it's pretty, and 
some eminent Netizens 
have said they'd gotten 
"very used to it," but that's 
about it. Still, Service 
Pack 1 might just 
change everything, let's 
not forget. El 



Apple opens up to developers-the iPhone and iTouch will get an SDK Feb 2008 ■ Users can now shape and share ideas in 3D in MS Virtual Earth 



24 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 





40 underTheDie 




42 Dr ° o ' maa i 



Lead Feature 



Clickety-Clack: 
Go glewhack! 

Starting off from an Indian security analyst's claim, 
we try and look at exactly how secure 
Google's AdSense programme is 

Team Digit 



HSnTiJI 



Fuelling The Pursuit Of Technology Knowledge 



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Q 



(( f\ oogle is God," many are apt to 
declare. And they are, really, close to 
being right... in certain senses. For 
example, you get a .odt file from someone 
when you expected a Word document. You 
scratch your head for a while— "open document 
something?"— and then you give up and do the 
usual thing: www.google.com. Type in just ".odt" 
without the quotes, and you're in business: a 
link to a forum, a link to a page, and seconds 
later, via a link you find, you have a Word doc- 
ument. Try it! 

Now go to, for example, Yahoo! Search. Otago 
Daily Times. Not so helpful...? Next up: some 
world maps. Not so helpful...? 

That example graphically demonstrates why 
Google is the most popular search engine. No- 
one can say it is "the best," because that's a 
much tougher question. 

Now, back to the clicks: all this fabulous 
search technology, all the power that Google 
has come to be known for, all its great products, 
rest on one edifice— its advertising pro- 
grammes, AdWords and AdSense. (We're 
focusing here on AdSense.) It seems money is 
just a click away— to be precise, a few thousand 
clicks. Those clicks can be engineered. 

The Working 

For those of you hearing the word for the first 
time, AdSense is Google's word for the pro- 
gramme whereby they place ads on a site or 
blog based on its content. Anyone can have an 
AdSense account, though to actually make 
money off it, you'll probably need a blog or site 
with good, extensive content. 

The concept is simple: after you sign up for an 
AdSense account, bots "look" at your page and 
place relevant ads on it. Those are the "Ads by 



A 



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25 DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 
A 

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Shrikrishna Patkar 






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Digital Passion I Lead Feature 



Google" links you see. The advertiser pays Google 
when someone clicks on one of his ads (on your 
site). Google pays the "publisher"— that is, you— 
some of that money, and keeps some for itself. 

The Problem 

The obvious thing here is, if clicks on ads mean 
money, minds of the money-grubbing type find 
ways to generate clicks. Well, if you're the pub- 
lisher, you can't just click on your own ads, 
sorry— Google just detects those as "invalid" 
clicks. Tell your office co-workers to click on 
them? Sorry again: same IP range, so they're 
detected as invalid. Yes, Google does keep 
updating its technology to detect invalid clicks. 

But it goes like this: someone— let's call him 
a hacker— comes up with a new technique to 
make money off clicks. He uses his method and 
makes lots of money, in the time that Google fixes 
that newly-discovered problem with AdSense. 
And in that time, the advertiser loses money. 

Which, naturally, leads to lawsuits. You've 
probably heard this headline at least once: 
"Google sued for click fraud." Click fraud is it: the 
potential Google-killer. As a matter of fact, May 
2004, there was this article by Garrett French 
(Managing Editor of Search Engine Lowdown) titled 
Click Fraud: The Google Killer. And the text went on: 
"Google listed click fraud as one of the potential 
'worries' that would-be investors should consider. 
In fact, they admitted to regularly paying refunds 
because of click fraud and stated that they may 
have to make retroactive payments." 

Formally, from www.clickz.com, Yahoo! Spon- 
sored Search defines click fraud as "clicks arising 
for reasons other than the good-faith intention 
of an Internet user to visit a Web site to purchase 
goods or services or to obtain information." 

Google is more specific, defining click 
fraud, "or invalid clicks, as any method used to 
artificially and/or maliciously generate clicks or 
page impressions," as Salar Kamangar, Vice Pres- 
ident of Product Management, once defined it. 



■/ 



The Lawsuits 



In May 2006, the following appeared on networkworld.com: ''Google has 
agreed to settle a class action lawsuit brought against it over the issue of 
click fraud, which some industry experts believe could seriously threaten 
the company's main source of revenue: pay-per-click advertising. Google 
will pay as much as $90 million to affected advertisers in attorneys' fees 
and credits as part of the settlement 

"The case was filed in an Arkansas court against Google and other 
search engine operators and providers of pay-per-click ads, such as Yahoo 
and AOL The lead plaintiff is Lane's Gifts & Collectibles, which sells items 
such as dolls, figurines and teddy bears online, over the phone and by 
mail." Now $90 million is material-refer Schmidt's comments alongside. 

On Google's official company blog, Nicole Wong, then associate general 
counsel at Google, wrote: "This agreement covers all advertisers who claim 
to have been charged but not reimbursed for invalid clicks dating from 
2002 when we launched our 'cost per click' advertising program through 
the date the settlement is approved by the judge." 

It works the other way round, too. 15 November 2004, Google filed a 
suit against an Internet operation that it claimed "systematically" (from 
news.com) clicked on text ads. That case was amongst the first civil 
lawsuits to relate to click fraud. It charged that Texas-based Auctions 
Expert International signed up for a Google AdSense account, then 
"fraudulently clicked on the ads to profit from its pay-per-click system." 



Examples of invalid clicks, according to 
Kamangar, include manual clicks on an ad to 
purposefully increase the ad spend; deliberate 
clicks on an ad to increase profits by site owners 
hosting the ads; and clicks that arise from the 
use of automated clicking tools, bots, or other 
deceptive software. 

The CEO 

In May of 2005, Google CEO Eric Schmidt had 
said, in regards to click fraud, as reported by 
zdnet.com (emphasis placed by us): "One of 
the great technical challenges, which our com- 
puter scientists like, is detecting these at scale. 
We have been able to detect them, so it 
appears as though the problem, which I don't 
think will ever go away, is both manageable 
and from a financial perspective at the com- 
pany it's not material." 

That was Google's third lawsuit in the con- 
text of click fraud. But 9th August, 2006, at the 
Search Engine Strategies Conference, as 
reported by Google themselves at google.com, 
Schmidt was quizzed about click fraud by 
David Krane, then director of Corporate Com- 
munications at Google. 

He had this to say: "As part of a litigation, 
which was settled, we produced a technical 
report which actually analysed this, which is 
now public information. We also have chosen 
to disclose what we estimate is the bad click 
rate on a per advertiser basis... I've also been 
misquoted by a number of people as somehow 
saying that this was not an important issue. It 
is an important issue that is under control. We 
have very good technical people. We have very 
good computers. We're monitoring it. It's not 
material to the company. It is important, and 
it's not going to go away. 

"It's hard to know [the precise extent of 
click fraud] because we only know what we 
detect, but based on our estimates, the problem 
is manageable. And we have a lot of ways of 
detecting it, but I can't make you an absolute 
guarantee, because you never really know." 

In other places, Schmidt has been reported 
as indicating that he didn't think click fraud 
was a big deal in the long run. He is quoted as 
saying that the "perfect economic solution" to 
click fraud is "to let it happen." This is perhaps 
what Schmidt was referring to when he said "I 
have been misquoted..." 

Schmidt's theory, as reported in July 2006 
at blogs.zdnet.com: "Eventually, the price that 
the advertiser is willing to pay for the conver- 
sion will decline, because the advertiser will 
realise that these are bad clicks, in other words, 
the value of the ad declines, so over some 
amount of time, the system is in fact self-cor- 
recting. In fact, there is a perfect economic 
solution, which is to let it happen." 

We will not comment on Schmidt's theory, 
but during that "eventually," advertisers are 
paying for fraudulent clicks. Google gets 
"smarter" with each breach— at the cost of 
advertisers, of course. 

And now, Manish Arora seems to have 
come up with something they haven't gotten 
over yet... 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Passion I Lead Feature 



Trying To Help 

Arora is a security analyst. Google still doesn't 
seem to have been able to find a solution to his 
method of committing click fraud— which he's 
reported to Google, and to no avail. It seems to 
us that Arora has been doing this with entirely 
benign intentions, but as a disclaimer, we must 
say that we cannot verify every single fact. 
However, we have little reason, from our inter- 
action with him, that Arora ever had any inten- 
tions to make money off AdSense. 

We looked up the Net— in fact, we Googled 
a lot— to see if anything similar to what Manish 
did has been done before by anyone, and it 
hasn't, to the best of our knowledge. That said, 
here's the story. 

Naturally, we can't tell you how Arora's 
"AdSense Crack"— our term— works; but here's 
what happens. You have a blog. You sign up for 
an AdSense account— for that, Google first 
"approves" your blog for the programme. Once 
they confirm that your blog is fit for an 
account, your account is activated, and the "Ads 
by Google" start appearing on your page. 

And then, if you 
have Arora's script 
(a set of commands 
that automate a 
task), you run it on 
your site— any site 
you own. You then 
send out mails to 
people you know, 
inviting them to 
visit— not your 
blog— but just 

about anything 
they'll find inter- 
esting, like a 
YouTube video, or 
pics of yours, etc. 
Those people you 
mail don't even 
need to know about 
the existence of 
your blog (where the AdSense ads are). 

When they click on your links and watch, 
say, the video you linked to, Google credits your 
AdSense account! 

Yes, you read that right— read it again for 
the full impact. The AdSense ads are on your 
blog; you send links to, say, videos, to people 
you know; they click and watch that video; and 
you get paid. 

Arora can control the scene, as it were: if he 
chooses to, he can stop all activity by ceasing to 
send out his mails. Google's bots detect the 
drop in click activity— and usually disable the 
account. Arora can then open a new account, 
and get back into "business." 

When he first created and ran his script, he 
"made" thousands of dollars— "made" is in quotes 
because he never actually took any of the money. 
Google says he was lying, and that what he 
claimed is impossible. Now Arora also tells us he 
received gifts from Google— two, to be precise- 
one of which is pictured on this page. It's not for 
us to decide if the picture has been doctored, but 
let's just leave it at "We don't now." 




Manish Arora, a security 
analyst who claims it's very 
easy to make money off 
Google AdSense 




One of the gifts Arora claims Google sent him for being a valuable AdSense customer 

In November 2006, Arora to Google: "I 
would be glad to provide you the complete 
mechanism, which will take one hour a day to 
produce thousands of dollars a month from 
Adsense. I would like to explain this model to 
any of your representatives." And later the 
same month, from Google to Arora: "We've 
investigated your claim. At this point, all we 
can verify is that our automated systems ter- 
minated your accounts as a result of your 
trying to inflate the clicks. This is exactly how 
the system is designed to work. If (sic) supply 
us with the code and technical details of the 
method you mention below, we will investigate 
further." That was Cory Altheide, Incident 
Response Lead, Google Security Team. We'll 
have more to say about this later. 



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Aug 27, 2007 -Sep 27,2007 



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A map-followed by country-wise figures-of what Arora claims is the report for 
September 2007 for his AdSense account 



NOVEMBER 2007 DIGIT 



Digital Passion I Lead Feature 
The Test 

Arora's "earnings" screenshot— which Google 
claims is doctored— is the first screenshot 
below. Then, we tested the script; it works like 
Arora claimed it would. (Second screenshot 
below.) Our account was disabled when Arora 
stopped sending out his e-mail invitations to 
click on his links. 

To prove that he had full control, Arora 
started yet another account into which money 
is still flowing in. See on the previous page a 
slightly outdated screenshot of where the 
clicks are coming from. Make no mistake: this 
method— which involves a simple script and 
lots of connections to people— is powerful. 

Naturally, we contacted Google and told 
them about how we had tested a certain click 
fraud script. Andrew Kovacs, a Google 
spokesman, got back and told us he'd 
like to speak with us. The only thing he asked 
us was, "When you ran the script, was it 
Manish Arora's?" 

Clearly, his is a name they're familiar with. 

The Actual Rate...? 

Click fraud happens all the time— it's so easy. 
Some people quote it at a ridiculous high of 
50 per cent; some say it is 10 per cent, some 
analysts quote figures in between. Shuman 




The total number of 
invalid clicks we 
detect— whether for 
suspected malicious or 
non-malicious intent- 
is in the single digit 
percentages" 

Shuman 
Ghosemajumder 

Business Product Manager 

for Trust And Safety 

Google 




A report of Arora's earnings as of 18 December 2006-his screenshot 



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A report of our earnings in the AdSense account we used to try out Arora's method 

Ghosemajumder, Business Product Manager 
for Trust And Safety at Google, says... well, 
there's a wee bit of controversy here. He has 
been quoted as saying that the click fraud rate 
is less than 2 per cent. But here's how he clar- 
ifies what he actually said, at shumans.com: 

"... I never said that our click fraud rate is 
less than 2 per cent. Instead, what I said is that 



the quantity of invalid clicks which we detect 
as a result of reactive investigations is a 'negli- 
gible proportion' of the total number of invalid 
clicks. Andy (Beal) asked me if that percentage 
is less than 2%. I told him that I was not able to 
provide a bound, but yes, 'negligible' certainly 
means less than 2% of invalid clicks. 

"So what is our overall 'click fraud rate'? ... 
it is virtually impossible to know the intent of 
every click. However, we can do a very effective 
job using statistical techniques to detect poten- 
tially malicious behavior, and the total number 
of invalid clicks we detect— whether for sus- 
pected malicious or non-malicious intent— is in 
the single digit percentages." 

(Andy Beal is a blogging and search engine 
marketing consultant. "Overall Click Fraud 
Rate" is commonly used to refer to the number 
of fraudulent clicks as a percentage of all 
clicks that happen, regardless of whether 
Google issues a refund or doesn't bill, 
according to Danny Sullivan of 
searchengineland.com.) 

Kovacs informs us: "Less than 0.02% of 
clicks that are billed to the advertiser turn out 
to be fraudulent." That corroborates with a 
March 2007 claim by Google that less than 
0.02% of all clicks slip past its filters and are 
caught after advertisers request reviews. 

But there are plenty of things we can't get 
into here— including the idea that there are 
sceptics who don't like that figure. If you're 
interested, you should visit http://tinyurl.com/ 
yrh87l for a detailed explanation by Sullivan. 

But The Questions... 

There are a lot of these, not entirely clear. Let's 
take a look at all of them. 

Q. Why has Google said Arora is lying? 
Proposed answer: We don't know. Arora could 
be lying. But then we tested his system 
ourselves and found that it works. Google 
categorically tells us it's "impossibe" for Arora 
to have "earned" how much he did, but there's 
no explanation— while they could have given us 
one: Arora spelt out on his blog what he'd 
been doing. 

Q. How can Digit he sure that Arora's system works? 
A. We're referring to the fact that we "got" 
paid, as in, the money accrued in our AdSense 
account. However, would the clicks have been 
later detected as invalid and we wouldn't have 
been paid? We asked Kovacs about this, and 
there has been no response. 

Q. Is Google taking Digit seriously? 
A. We believe so. Kovacs has been our point of 
contact; he invited us to speak to 
Ghosemajumder about the issue. In one e- 
mail, he said our questions were "top prior- 
ity." 

Q. Is Google taking Arora seriously? 
A. On the one hand, consider the alacrity with 
which Kovacs called us to ask if it was Arora's 
script we had been using. He said they had 
"dealt" with him before. On the other hand, 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Passion I Lead Feature 



when we got into the details and began e- 
mailing him, there has been only one 
concrete response. Why the reticence here? 

Q. Why do they all say "that's the way it's supposed 
to work"? 

A. (Our italics) Refer what Cory Altheide said 
to Arora: "This is exactly how the system is 
designed to work." Then here's what Kovacs 
said to us in the last communication we 
received: "When we learn about fraudulent 
accounts we terminate them before the indi- 
viduals earn any money. This is exactly how the 
system is designed to work" Then, like we've 
asked earlier, would our clicks have been 
later detected as invalid— and we would have 
ended up not being paid? Why have we not 
received a response on this? And second, if 
everything is working "exactly the way it's 
supposed to work," why does click fraud 
occur at all? 

Q. Finally, does Google have a mechanism in place 
to prevent activity of the type Arora claims to have 
been successful in doing? 

A. We're not sure. Kovacs says: "Do we 
have (sic) multiple ways to distinguish 
between clicks that originate on a site 
approved for AdSense and those that origi- 
nate on other sites." There's no further expla- 
nation, and we have to ask: how did money 
come into our account? Were we to try and 



cash into it, would we have been told that our 
clicks were fake? It doesn't seem that way to 
us, but we don't know. 

Something's missing along the way. 

The Moral Of The Story 

So what's our point? Just this: that each time 
someone comes up with a new method to 
exploit a problem with AdSense, some people 
lose money. Each time Google fortifies its 
defences, and it gets better. But the pro- 
gramme, therefore, is far from perfect. Did we 
mention that click fraud is the potential 
Google-killer? 

And that is the reason we're reporting this: 
it's not just to say "someone found an 
exploitable loophole in AdSense." It is to 
inform you of the fact that AdSense is far from 
perfect— and that we think Google should not 
underestimate the gravity of the situation. 
Will it need one more class action suit to wake 
Google up? Should it? 

We certainly hope— in fact, we're almost 
sure— that Google will find a way to patch the 
AdSense exploitation method that Arora has 
found. For the sake of all of us— so that Google 
remains what it is today, a benign giant, organ- 
ising the world's information. 

But in this instance, they're taking rather 
a long time to respond— we wish them 
God Speed! El 

editor@thinkdigit.com 




Biometric enabled 

Labour Management System... 

Security has become a paramount concern far any organization h tnE modern world. Physics* secur+y of the assess and trie 
inleJIecUial property protection has become a major ohaWenge of any security department of an organization. Proper vigilance over 
tfie visitors, contractora, Eabonerc. lemporajy emptayees is the first step towards achieving effective security In Ihe organization. 

There are many temporary employees entering in an organization Gfi a day to day basis. Normally these conlract employees 
are lived from contractors. Usually tfie management of these employees is done through after a manual system like 
'Tc&en System" nr a partially automated system with access cards. There are many issues related to these systems. 

Advantages of a Biometric enabled Labour Management System: 

■ Every jatxurgeta a badge wsth photograph. 

■ Daily attendance with finger print authentication (optional] . 

■ Marattum no of labours par contractor can h9 restridfld and contralted.. 
- Any person can be authenticated against a ptiDdDgraph &. finger print 

■ Repositffly of all labourers / temporary employees, 

• In case of an accident or mishap all tfie details about tfie individual can be traced easily. 

• Validity of Ihe badge can be displayed prominently. 

• Daily attendant shoats can ba generated accuralety. 

• Allowed work linings are displayed on Ihe badge and the same can be conlruJIed. 

That's why many corporates like Accenting Reliance Industries, Pfizer, 
Adam Logistics. lilagarpatta City and many mere have standardized 
on ESM KIOSK. 



Supports B57799 .' ISQ2.7K>1:2DGG_ HIRAA Ccmplianca. ESM Enterprise ^arsiwi and Wafer NlanaganiBm Systems also avaflabte. 

Soft -AID Computers (P) Ltd. 

3.rd floor, 4th Dimension, 13F, Erandwgna, Pure -411004 INDIA 

Te*:-Hgi20 25452{][>5(3lrnes) 

Fax: *9120 25469063 

E-maii: 5ate5r4ipbsuiite.com 

Mumbai (Saehin - BMU12M3) Delhi (Amit - 9B1T32.ti«tl| Bangalore f Kumar - 9fl4427E5B4f 

Hyde-rabid (PAajii&hi ■ g347B7BW) Puns (Si ms\ ■ 9S5D 3 51 56? Vijay - =522 7 5C-t56: 





EOD0C1£iKKGanKiip 



NOVEMBER 2007 DIGIT 



29 



Digital Passion I 30 days with... 



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Akai 32LW7 LCD Television 



Rossi Fernandes 

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'Tis the time to be 
spending, but what to buy? 
Tech shopping over 
the holidays 
can get confusing. 
Allow us to suggest 
a few things 
for you to splurge on 



Robert Sovereign-Smith 



You're probably already sick of all the ads screaming out 
to you from billboards as you navigate your way through 
rush hour traffic. (And also those in papers, mags...) 
Every year around Diwali (or Deepavali), companies put every- 
thing up on sale, advertise like mad and hope to win your 
heart over, along with your Lakshmi (money, wealth, paisa, 
etc.). Friends and relatives all act as facilitators when it comes 
to decision time— except when it's something from the tech 



domain. Here, the majority of we Indians depend a lot on ads. 
Most of us have friends who know less (or at best, as much) 
about technology as we do. Those of you who read Digit ought 
to know better than to base a decision on an ad, and should 
whip out those old issues of Digit, or head on over to our site 
(www.thinkdigit.com) to look at our tests and decide on a prod- 
uct. But this year, we're making it even easier— with our holi- 
day shopping list, sourced from those in the Digit editorial 
team: "If you had a million rupees, this Diwali you would 
buy...". Answers varied across categories, and we present what 
we're calling "Digit's Ultimate Holiday Shopping Guide." 




lOJ 



Gamin 

because everyoneToves gaming! 



Sony PSP 

If it's portable entertainment, nothing beats 
the Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable). 
There's a new version out called the PSP 
Slim, widely available with your local grey 
market vendor. Price varies between Rs 7.5 
and 8.5K. So what's so good about it? Well, the 
Slim (PSP 2000) is lighter than the PSP (PSP 
1000)-down to 189 gm with batteries. It has 
been optimised to use less power. The RAM 
has been doubled to 64 MB. The screen 
remains unchanged-480x272 (16:9) wide- 
screen TFT LCD. The buttons are more respon- 
sive and stick out a little further from the 
body. The drive seems a little less noisy. The 
Slim features a video-out connector. When 
you're at home or in a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can 
connect and start surfing. 

For the price, nothing beats the PSP if 
you're into gaming on the move. If you're a 
movie buff, however, move on to Entertain- 
ment (three pages down). 



Microsoft 
XboK 360 ELite 

This black beauty comes with an HDMI-out-per- 
fect if you're planning on getting an LCD HDTV. 
The Elite sports a full 1080p HD resolution; it also 
comes with a 120 GB hard drive, and unfortunately, not 
much more in terms of features than the regular Xbox 
models. But well, you'll be able to actually use it as a 
media centre to play back movies on your HDTV. 
Besides, with the Elite you get digital audio. And more... 
The Elite is supposed to be backwards-compatible 
with previous Xbox and Xbox 360 games, but this does- 
n't hold true all the time. However, if you want to enjoy 
the games you buy in full HD splendour, the Elite is 
your only option when it comes to the Xbox 360. The 
Elite is being sold in India at www.indiatimes.com for 
Rs 34,990. We're mentioning both the Elite and the PS3 
because choosing between them often comes down to 
what games you like to play. 
We suggest you look at the 
games available for each plat- 
form, decide on which has 
more of the games you'd like to 
own, and only then make your 
purchase. Also, the Xbox 360 
Elite is available in the Gulf for 
considerably less than the Indi- 
an price. 





Digital Passion I Festive Special 



Sony PS3 



Coming to the PS3, we wonder if we really need to explain any further. Well, here's 
a look at its spec sheet: Cell processor (capable of 218 GFlops); Full HD capability 
(1080p); 2xHDMI ports; Dolby 5.1/DTS capable audio; Blu-ray DVD player 
(CD/DVD/BD); wireless controllers; and more... What makes the PS3 special is its 
native support for HDTV using the two HDMI inputs and the mind-blowing sound expe- 
rience it offers. The PS3 has always been full HD compatible (1080p), so you can enjoy 
it on any HDTV out there. The inbuilt Blu-ray DVD player is a huge bonus, making you 
quite future-proof. Incidentally, you can get an HD-DVD player for the 360 Elite, to 
future-proof it, but it's an external player and will cost you about Rs 8,000 more- 
huge advantage for Sony's PS3 here. Currently, the game selection for PS3 available in 
India makes it a formidable force, and considering that you get Dolby 5.1/DTS, a Blu- 
ray player, 2 HDMI ports... the choice when buying from India is simple-get the PS3 
for Rs 34,990 (MRP, and a little cheaper at certain stores). The PS3 will cost between 
Rs 25,000 to 30,000 abroad, so it might not be worth losing support for it. 

Overall, this Diwali, make sure you get yourself a gaming console-an Xbox via 
friends or relative from abroad or a PS3 right here. Nintendo fans will complain about 
us not mentioning the Wii, but lack of official availability and games forces us to 
ignore it at this time-maybe next Diwali! 




personaltech 

What good is it to earn if you can't 
splurge on yourself? 
Go ahead, pamper away! 



Nokia N95 

Looking to buy a stylish phone? If you have a budget of about Rs 25,000 for 
a phone, the Nokia N95 is your best bet. This 3G phone weighs in at just 120 
gm, features a 240 x 320 TFT screen, a camera that is capable of 5 mega pixel 
pictures, with a Carl Zeiss lens, and an almost unlimited supply of phonebook 
space, and much more. 

What's that "much more", you ask? For starters, quad-band GSM, class 10 GPRS 

(48 Kbps), EDGE (296 Kbps), HSPDA (3G), WiFi 
(b/g) and Bluetooth are the options you have 
for connectivity to networks and other devices. 
It features a 3.5 mm audio jack so you can con- 
nect a decent set of headphones without wor- 
rying about proprietary formats. The built in 
GPS navigation ensures you never lose your 
way, while the 5 mp (2592x1944 pixel) camera 
let's you capture every trip you take. The cam- 
era with Karl Zeiss optics lets you capture VGA 
(640x480) video at 30 fps, more than enough 
for capturing your family frolicking on a holi- 
day. The phone provides 160 MB of internal 
memory, comes with a 128 MB microSD card, 
which you can safely ignore because you know 
you're going to want to buy a multiple-GB 
microSD replacement for it! With over six 
hours of talk time and over 200 hours of 
standby time, you'll rarely find yourself run- 
ning low on charge between plug points. The 
phone is running Symbian OS 9.2, and hooks 
up to your PC via the mini USB port, so file 
transfers are easy. As for looks, take a look at 
the picture alongside-you 
know you want this cool slider 
_Z5^^ from Nokia! 





£fple iEod Touch 

Rumoured to be launched officially some time 
before Diwali, the iPod Touch is what everyone 
wants-at least until the iPhone is officially 
launched here. So what is the iPod Touch? Think the 
iPhone, without the phone function! There are two vari- 
ants to the Flash memory-based Touch: 8 GB and 16 GB. 
Already available and quite popular in the grey market, 
the iPod touch is retailing at around Rs 15,000 for the 
8 GB and 19,000 for the 16 GB models. Featuring the 
already famous Apple Multi-touch interface, a 3.5 inch 
480 x 320 touch-screen, the Safari Internet browser, 
WiFi access to connect the browser to the Net, and the 
ability to download songs from iTunes, this is a must 
buy for those who can afford it. Regular specifications 
are: Weight 120 gm; Display 3.5-inch; Audio AAC, MP3, 
Apple lossless, AIFF, and WAV; Video capabilities M4V, 
MP4 and MOV; Other Features 3.5 mm headphone jack, 
22 hours of music playback, etc. Heard enough? If all 
the specifications and pictures are making you drool 
over this magazine, close mouth, run to your tech retail- 
er and get one of these! 



DIGIT NOEMBER 2007 



89 



Digital Passion I Festive Spedal 



Sony Ericsson S500i 



Not everyone will set themselves a budget as high as Rs 25K for a phone. Most of us Diwali shoppers 
will look for more mid-range phones... so we decided to recommend something new, something that 
will let your purchase stand out from the crowd. Sony Ericsson launched the S500i in the beginning 
of October, and at first glance, this phone looks really cool. Of the four colours available-Mysterious 
Green, Ice Purple, Contrasted Copper and Spring Yellow-our favourites are the first two. The phone is a 
slider; the 2-inch TFT display works at 240 x 320, with 262K colours. It's EDGE-capable, has quad-band GSM 
capability and supports Bluetooth (A2DP stereo, for wireless headphones). The phone weighs just 92 gm, 
and is 14 mm thick. Onboard memory is scarce-just 12 MB-but you can upgrade to 2 GB using the Memory 
Stick Micro (M2) slot. The phone features Sony's Walkman software for phones, so your music experience 
will be good. The 2MP camera offers decent pictures, and is on par with other phones in this range. The 
buttons are small, but well-designed and tactile enough. Talk time is 9 hours and standby time is 370 
hours. The menu is exciting to play with, and Sony Ericsson says, "...S500i keeps you in harmony with the 
world around you. Let desktop and menu themes change with the season; or as day turns to night." So your 
phone menu looks different on different days and even changes between day and night! You can person- 
alise the phone's "light effects"-the way the phone lights up when a call comes through. In 
terms of specs, the phone is quite what you'd expect for the price-nothing extraordinary. -s^ g-_ 

However, if you'd like to make a style statement with your phone, the S500i can be the centre 
of attention... if you want it to be. 





Cameras 

i-rom semi- 
professional to 
point-and-click 




Sony Cyber- shot DSC W200 

Por those of you on a smaller budget, or if you just want a pock- 
et-able camera that gives you great quality and ease of use, we 
recommend the DSC W200. This Cyber-shot camera from Sony 
is really compact for its 12MP rating. The DSC W200 features Sony's 
Super SteadyShot optical image stabilisation technology, face detec- 
tion and 9-point autofocus. This translates to an easy to use camera 
that very rarely gives you blurry shots. Video capture is possible at 
30 fps VGA. The camera has a Carl Zeiss lens with 3x optical zoom, 
which provides good results in well-lit scenarios. At 142 gm, the cam- 
era is as light as you'd expect it to be, but still feels good and steady 
in your hands. The design also helps you get a good grip of the thing 
when you're shooting, and coupled with the image stabilisation soft- 
ware you're not likely to get motion blurs. Apart from standard USB 
and AV connectors, the camera features a HD output jack, so you can 
hook it up directly to your HDTV. Software running on the camera 
lets you set up slide-shows for viewing on your HDTV. The DSC W200 
is available at quite a varied price-between Rs 13,000 and Rs 
16,000-because some dealers sell only the camera, some sell it with 
a carry pouch, and some even throw in a 2 GB Memory Stick Pro Duo. 



Nikon D40x 

._he D40x is our personal favourite camera. We suggest you use 
this as a benchmark for other "Diwali offers" you might find. 
This is a 10.2MP camera that seems to fit perfectly in your hands. 
It'slight-a mere 495 gm without the battery. Even professional pho- 
tographers have showered praises on the camera's image quality at 
its low price. The D40x is in India available for around Rs 29,000. We 
should warn you that the older D40 (6.1MP) is also still being sold in 
India for around Rs 22,000, so make sure you don't get confused 
between the D40 and D40x. Although the older D40 is a very good 
camera in itself, the D40x comes with an 18-55 mm Nikkor lens bun- 
dled, so it's actually a way better deal. The D40x uses SD memory 
cards to store pictures, which is good because SD flash memory prices 
are plummeting. The camera features auto white balance, Nikon's 




Multi-CAM 530 autofocus technology, five shooting modes, Nikon's 3D 
Color Matrix Metering II exposure control system, and a lot of shoot- 
ing controls to give you a perfectly exposed and timed picture. Shut- 
ter speeds range from 30 to 1/4000. The pop-up flash is good for 
indoor-low-light shooting. The D40x uses a custom Li-ion battery 
that has a decent life, but shutterbugs who shoot in excess of 500 pics 
on a single charge might need a spare battery. Overall, any semi-pro- 
fessional shooter would be quite happy with this camera. 



90 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




Ehbsct ainment 

High-fidelity and high-definition here 



$mm$ 



ordeaux 



Chances are you're going to get a pretty good offer on this TV 
these holidays. The 32R8 is a black beauty from the Samsung 
Bordeaux collection, and is one revision up from its prede- 
cessor the LA32R71B. The newer model is slightly sleeker looking 
(not that any improvement was required to begin with), and the 
contrast ratio has been beefed up from 5000:1 to 8000:1 on the 
new range. Prices have fallen as well, and the TV was retailing for 
Rs 52,000 the last time we checked, and may even fall further dur- 
ing the shopping season. 

The display is not true HD, and is 1080i (1366 x 768), which 
shouldn't be much of a problem for most, because we hardly have 
any 1080i capable outputs. If you own a PS3 or Xbox though, you 
might want to look at full HD displays. 

The brightness is rated at 550 cd/m2, and coupled with a view- 
ing angle of 178 degrees, this makes the TV well viewable from 
everywhere in your room. The inbuilt speakers aren't great, and at 
10 watt RMS don't pack a punch-but you can't have everything 
now can you? 

There are 3 HDMI inputs, so those of you who want to be able 
to simultaneously connect multiple HD sources are in luck here. 
There's PC connectivity as well, via a D-sub port that connects 
directly to your graphics card. We love the picture-in-picture imple- 
mentation on this TV though, which comes in handy when you've 
connected your PC up and want to watch the cricket match while 
you work. Picture quality is good and this is a good buy for most 
people. 

Also available in the Indian market are the older R7 models of 




this 32-inch TV, and you should check carefully what you're buying. 
There's nothing wrong with the R7 series per se, and if you get a 
good deal on one, they're still great buys. The difference is that 
the R7s feature just a single HDMI port and a reduced contrast ratio 
of 5000:1. A good idea would be to look for clearance sales of the 
R7, and if you get lucky, you could get them for Rs 42,000 or less— 
a good buy if you're not interested in hooking up too many HD 
sources (of which we have so few anyway in India). Those of you 
with friends / relatives going to the gulf might want to ask them to 
check for the R7s there-one of our colleagues got an LA32R71B 
for a mere 27,000 at a clearance sale in the gulf! 

Now there are those of you who will want larger than 32 inch 
TVs, or just insist on full HD (1080p) TVs. Be prepared to pay a 
steep price though. If you've got a budget of over 1,50,000, you 
may want to take a look at full HD LCDs and Plasmas from Philips, 
Sony and Hitachi. The Philips Ambilight LCE TVs are also something 
you may want to look at-they're different and definitely a good 
looking addition to any wall. Speaking of good looking, the Sony 
Bravia line has some really nice full HD TVs, and they've got some 
good discounts and offers lined up this Diwali. 



Bose QuietComfort 3 

With all that shopping you're planning, chances are you're 
going to have a lot of new audio-visual gear at home-all 
of which is useless at 2:00 AM when you want to catch 
that flick on TV or when you just want to chill to some loud music. 
If your family doesn't kill you first, your neighbours will. The only 
option is to take your entertainment to more personal level, and 
get headphones. However, not just any headphones, because 
what use is it watching your favourite movie or listening to that 
Beethoven/Van Halen/Madonna/Linkin' Park/(we could go on 
forever) CD on a substandard pair of headphones. 

Audio quality is something you can stop worrying about as 
soon as the word Bose is mentioned. We all know they're good, 
period. Bose's QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Head- 
phones are something everyone should have, but not just anyone 
can afford. Priced at Rs 21,263, these headphones cause most of 
us to sputter in awe when we hear the price tag. "Why?" is gen- 
erally the next question we all ask; here's the answer: 

The headphones are rea//Knoise cancelling, and putting them 
on isolate you from the noise around, as well as ensure that any 



noise in your music is electronically cut out. They also feature 
active equalisation-electronics in the headset analyse and con- 
trol the frequency response of the headphones, on-the-fly, to 
ensure the best audio quality always. In short, you have to hear 
them to believe them. Only for those with money to splurge 
though, or those who have ears as sensitive as professional com- 
posers. They do make for some serious flaunt value though! 




TiiiB To Open The Goodies 

We certainly hope that this article has inspired you to go out and look 
for good deals... Remember, there are plenty more great ones out 
there in every segment we've mentioned; these are just suggestions. 



If you do buy any of the products we've mentioned, write in and let 
us know about your experience. We'd also love to hear what you did 
buy this Diwali, even if it's not on our list! ■ 

robert_smith@thinkdigit.com 



DIGIT NOEMBER 2007 



91 




How processors 
go from idea to 
your PC 



Nimish Chandiramani 



If you've ever handled a transistor— in your 
college lab, for instance— you've probably had 
a brain cell or two pop trying to imagine 291 
million of them inside the diminutive package 
that is the Intel Core 2 Duo. And if it isn't enough 
to imagine just transistors on that little chip, try 
to imagine that those transistors are actually 
connected to each other in circuits, which ulti- 
mately power all our PCs. Hurts, doesn't it? 

So how do you design circuitry when millions 
of transistors are involved? And how do you fit the 
lot on a chip that's barely the size of a fingernail? 

Drawing Board 

Before the actual design of your microchip 
commences, you first have to decide what it's 
going to do— and not just in vague terms like "Oh, 
it'll decode video files." You'll have to draw up 
algorithms for how exactly the chip will decode 
video— which codec it'll use and so on. 

The next step is dividing the chip's job into 
hardware and software— what tasks will be 
performed by the chip directly, and what you'll 
write drivers or software for. If you implement all 
the chip's functionality on the hardware itself, 
you'll have yourself a real cracking performer, but 
you won't be able to add to those functions later. 
For example, your mobile phone manufacturer 
could very well incorporate all the functions of 
your phone on to the same chip, but if they had 
to make even the simplest change to the phone- 



like adding an FM radio function— they'd have to 
design and manufacture a whole new chip: an 
embarrassingly expensive proposition. Instead, 
they build a chip with all the essential features— 
maldng phone calls, for instance— and write soft- 
ware to implement the rest of the functions. 

Once the hardware's role in the Big Picture is 
fixed, it's time to design. 

Drawing Board, II 

We talk about circuitry with millions of transis- 
tors, but the truth is that even in the early days of 
chip manufacture, designers never had to bother 
with individual transistors— the smallest units 
they had to care about were logic gates; this was a 
time when digital circuits weren't nearly as 
complex as today's. If you were to design a micro- 
processor at that minute level today, it would take 
years to just finish the design, let alone test and 
refine it. The solution? Don't bother with circuit 
diagrams at all— tell a computer what you want, 
and let it do the dirty work. 

Today, designing hardware has become a 
matter of writing code— using a special "Hardware 
Descriptive Language" (HDL), you describe every 
function of the chip you're designing— right down 
to what the chip does in each clock cycle. That 
code, once interpreted (by a logic synthesiser), 
results in a circuit diagram— which can now be 
refined by hand, if necessary. Before your design 
is shipped off for manufacture, it'll need manual 
looking-over to see if the design can be optimised 
beyond what the logic synthesiser brought up. 



40 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Passion I Insight 



Finally, it's tested in a simulation to see if it really 
does what it's supposed to. 

And now, it's off to the fabrication plant... 

In The Clean Room 

Even the smallest speck of dust can turn an IC into 
a worthless piece of silicon, so everything we're 
talking about here takes place in a "cleanroom," 
which is, well, a very clean room. We're talking 
millions of dollars worth of dust filters, special 
furniture that won't leave particles, even 
specialised cleaning materials. 

It all starts with a wafer of pure silicon; the 
wafers are rinsed in pure water and a special 
cleaning solution. The huge number of transistors 
that will be made on this chip are going to be 
packed together real close, so it's necessary to 
isolate them from each other using an insulating 
material. Rather than slap on a layer of material 
on the silicon wafer, the wafer is exposed to heat 
and oxygen to create a layer of silicon dioxide on 
it. Now, we'll remove the oxide only from those 
areas that we need to create the transistors on. 

The layer of silicon dioxide is then coated with 
a material called photoresist, which turns into an 
incoherent goo when exposed to ultraviolet light. 
Here's where you use the circuit diagram that 
came out of the design process. The circuit's 
layout is etched on to a mask, which is then placed 
on the layer of photoresist. This is then exposed to 
ultraviolet light, which causes the photoresist 
under the mask's transparent areas (which is 
where the transistors need to be) to turn gooey so 
it can be washed away. The wafer is then doused 
in acid, which eats up the exposed portions of the 
silicon dioxide layer, giving us access to the silicon 
underneath; this is called etching. 

Now, through a process called ion implantation, 
ions are diffused into the silicon to create transis- 
tors. Note that we're talking only transistors here- 
even resistors and capacitors are created using 
transistors connected in special configurations; 
the gory details are too much to fit in here. 

So we've created our components on the 
wafer; now it's time to bring in the wiring. 



Inevitably even C 
will fall short in 
the face of the 
complexity of 
newer hardware, 
so manufactur- 
ers are looking 
to newer meth- 
ods to make 
processor design 
easier 



oxide 



photo resist 



exposing . 






transparent 




wash photoresist 



put ions 




oxide 



metal 



♦ . 





oxide 



The process we've described above-how we start with a piece of silicon, go through 
the process, and end up with circuits etched on top of silicon dioxide 



Connecting Them All 

We use the term "wiring" rather loosely, but we 
are following the intention. The components have 
been created, but they're not connected. The first 
thing to do is to close up the transistors inside insu- 
lating material— more silicon dioxide. This time, 
the process of masking and etching is repeated, 
only the mask is creating windows that lead to the 
transistors' terminals. A layer of metal is deposited 
now, which establishes the connections. 

This is only the first layer of metal, which 
establishes only part of the connections that 
need to be made— another cycle of insulating, 
masking, etching and metal depositing follows, 
creating the next set of connections— this goes 
on for up to twenty layers. This is how they're 
able to connect so many components in such a 
small area. 

And speaking of small... 

The Nanometre Kerfuffle 

If you've been following technology news for the 
past few months— specifically the antics of the 
processor giants— you've most likely encountered 
talk about the old 90 nm (nanometre) process, the 
on-its-way-out 65 nm and the new wave of 45 nm 
processes. What are these numbers and what's 
the big deal? 

To put it in non-engineering terms, these 
numbers represent the effective length of the 
transistors on the chip— so in the same chip area, 
it's possible to put more 45 nm transistors than 60 
nm. However, it's not just that bit that's causing 
the hype— it's the transistors themselves (more 
specifically, the transistors that you'll see on 
Intel's upcoming Penryn and Nehalem proces- 
sors). The transistors are called high-k metal gate 
transistors, and their design reduces the amount of 
current wasted in the transistor, which in turn 
pulls down the power they consume and the 
amount of heat dissipated by them. A more 
detailed explanation would fill up a few issues of 
this magazine, so we won't go that deep. 

Ahead 

Even with the new technologies, processor 
designs are getting more complex— HDLs have 
become cumbersome, and designers now prepare 
their specifications in variants of the C program- 
ming language. Inevitably, though, even C is 
going to fall short in the face of the complexity of 
newer hardware, so manufacturers are looking to 
newer methods to make processor design easier. 

One way is to modularise the processor— break 
it into parts in such a way that they can be added 
or removed as necessary. An approach that looks 
promising is AMD's Fusion, which enables them 
to give you processors with as many CPU or graph- 
ics cores you want on the same chip. With the 
earlier method, if they wanted graphics and CPU 
on the same chip, they'd have to design it from 
the ground up— with Fusion, all they need to do is 
add the extra graphics core to an existing CPU 
core design, and voila! 

And then there's talk of offloading even more 
of the design to computers. Who knows, maybe 
we'll soon see processors whose sole purpose is to 
design better processors... El 

nimish_chandiramani@thinkdigit.com 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



41 





HP Blackbird 002 PC 

IP recently bought VoodooPC, and already 
we're seeing the effects of that in the way 
new systems are designed. The Blackbird 
002 PC is one of the most amazing looking designs 
from HP in a while now. With a price range of 
anywhere between $2,500 and $7,000 (Rs 1,00,000 
to Rs 2,80,000)-depending on configuration-there 
better be power under the hood. 

You can get an over-clocked Core 2 Extreme 
QX6850, SLI-ed 8800 Ultras and 4GB of memory. All 
that hot hardware is cooled using liquids, heat pipes 
and heat sinks. You can customize your 
configuration and opt for AMD instead. A special HP 
Blackbird Dedicated Edition will be released soon, 
which will add on a Voodoo keyboard and mouse 
and the Half Life 2 Orange Box. What's subtracted is 
the overclocking on the QX6850 and a mere 2 GB of 
RAM instead of 4. The price for the Dedicated 
Edition is $5,500 (Rs 2,20,000). 



Droolmaal 




42 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Passion I Droolmaal 



Fanatec Porsche 
911 Turbo Wheel 





j e all love cars, but not all of us can afford a Porsche, can we? 
Thanks to Fanatec, you can own something by Porsche that 

'your grandchildren will not still be paying for! The Fanatec 
Porsche 911 Turbo Wheel is brilliantly designed for racing game 
enthusiasts. The steering has hand stitched leather, an H-pattern 
gear shift, force feedback and the wheel has a turning angle of 900 
degrees. It connects wirelessly, but you have to power it to get force 
feedback. The battery operated pedals are designed to feel just like 
the real thing-no plasticky nonsense here. The USB dongle and wheel 
have neat Porsche badges. Price? A mere $350 to $420 (Rs 14,000- 
Rs 16,750) depending on where you plan on buying it. 




iRobot ConnectR 

I he iRobot ConnectR might look like a hi-tech 
baby potty at first, but is in fact a very smart 
gadget. The ConnectR uses the power of the 
Internet (and a webcam and microphone) to allow 
its users to talk with others. Spy on your loved 
ones, or keep an eye on your toddler using this little 
robot. It moves around the house, controlled over 
the Net using a joystick or a mouse. So how much 
does a walking, talking, potty seat cost? A mere 
$499.9 (Rs 20,000). 




The good stuff • Stuff to lust after • Stuff for the well-moneyed 




Pacemaker 



OQO model e2 



BQO model e2 is a new comer in the UMPC market. It's powered by a VIA 
1.6 GHz processor, 1 GB DDR2 memory and comes with Wi-Fi. The 5- 
inch screen is capable of a resolution of 800 x 480, and if this doesn't 
suffice, you're free to connect to a display using the VGA, DVI or HDMI outputs 
for a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200. Did we mention that it runs 
Windows Vista? 

There's an option of a 120 GB hard drive, or a 32 GB solid state drive. A 
QWERTY keyboard (with a number pad) are designed into it-all in the size of a 
small notebook. At 450g, it's heavy only to the weakest of geeks. Price is 
another matter, and the rumoured figure is between £846 and £1,359 (Rs 47,782 
to Rs 76,756)-making it heavy on your pocket. Pun not intended. 




Io, this gadget will not save a life; it will, 
however, let you party wherever you go. It's 
a cool looking portable DJ-ing system with 
120 GB storage. You can mix music easily, and on 
the move. All the well known audio formats- MP3, 
WMA, AAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis and even the lossless 
FLACare supported! 

The Pacemaker has a set of effects like crossfade, 
bend, pitch, etc., which can be controlled using the 
multifunctional touchpad. Outputs include headphone 
and line-out, and the device lets you control two 
channels individually. Even if you aren't a DJ, its huge 
storage capacity lets it double up as a really good 
portable music player! We're clueless about the price 
but we'll assume that the rumours hold some truth— 
around Rs 30,000 is what it might be. 





THIS MONTH'S CHALLENGE 



How would you e-mail a 
page in Internet Explorer by 
right-clicking on it? 

Send in your solution with 
the subject "Take a Crack", 
and your postal address, to 
takeacrack@thinkdigit.com 



Create A Context 
Menu Item To Mail 
An IE Page 



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LAST MONTH'S CHALLENGE 




Take a Crack 
and win 

Introducing Maya 8 
3D for Beginners 

by Dariush Derakhshani 
Published by 

©WILEY-INDIA 



LAST MONTH'S WINNER 



Gaurav 

Anna University 
Chennai 



44 



Rules and Regulations 

E Readers are requested to 
send in their answers by the 
15 th of the month of 
publication. 

E Employees of Jasubhai 
Digital Media and their 
relatives are not permitted to 
participate in this contest. 

E Readers are encouraged to 
send their replies by e-mail. 
Jasubhai Digital Media will not 
entertain any unsolicited 
communication. 

E Jasubhai Digital Media is 
not responsible for any 
damage to your system that 
may be caused while you are 
trying to solve the problem. 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Create An XP Live CD 
Solution To Last Month's Challenge 

One of the easiest ways to do this is using a 
software called pebuilder. Using it, you can 
create an XP Live CD in just about 15 minutes! 

Here's all the software you'll need: 

1. pebuilder3110al.exe, from 
ftp://dl.xs4all.nl/pub/mirror/nu2files/pebuilder3110 
a.exe 

2. Plugins: 

E xpe-1.0.7.cab (the GUI shell) from 

http://sourceforge.net/project/downloading.php7gr 

oup_id=126922&use_mirror=nchc&filename=xpe- 

1.0.7.cab&10619721 

(http://tinyurl.com/2ct72t) 

E Other plugins from www.bootcd.us/ 

BartPE_Plugins_Complete.php 

3. Nero Burning ROM 

4. A (bootable) XP CD 

Step 1: Download pebuilder3110al.exe and 
install it. 

Step 2: For the wallpaper, replace 

C: \pebuilder3110a\bartpe.bmp with the 
image you want as your wallpaper. You can 
find the default XP wallpaper at 
C:\WINDOWS\Web\Wallpaper\bliss.bmp. 
(Both these, of course, assume the C drive as 
the installation location.) 

Step 3: Download the plugins: 

E xpe-1.0.7.cab: This will create the XP start 

button and taskbar. It is the GUI shell of the 

XP Live CD. 

E Network Driver Plugin Pack: This provides 

many network card drivers 

E FreeAV Virus Scanner: This integrates 

FreeAV 

E diskexplorer_for_ntfs.cab: A very good file 

explorer 

E And more... you can choose what you want 

to download to add functionality. There are 

537 plugins right now to choose from! 

Step 4: Open pebuilder. Specify the source 
path to the Windows installation file. This 
should be your Windows XP installation 
bootable CD, where the i386 folder resides. 



Step 5: Click Plugins and add the plugins 
you've downloaded. Since you've included 
xpe-1.0.7.cab, disable nu2shell and the startup 
group. 





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Step 6: Specify the ISO image file, and click 
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Step 7: After that's done, use Nero (or any 
other burning software) and burn the image 
file to a CD. You're done! m 




Technology For Personal And SoHo Productivity 



Enhance 



AN IMPROVED 

Office 



Even the best software has its 
limitations. Here are a few tools that 
can supercharge your Office 
experience 



Asfaq Tapia 

When it comes to Microsoft Office, 
we are normally a happy lot. How- 
ever, we like the idea of being able 
to do more than what is possible, 
or possibly accomplishing a set task faster than 
normal. Since Office allows you to add third- 
party functionality in the form of add-ons, we 
decided to go out and find the best Microsoft 
add-ons that will help you augment MS Office to 
make your daily tasks easier. 



entries into the Outlook address book using 
this add-on. 

To import vCard entries into Outlook: click 
on the Import-Export icon in the Outlook file 
menu, go into the folder where the vCard entries 
are stored, and click OK. 

In order to convert contacts into the vCard 
format, click on Contacts, and either select all 




VCard40utlook 

At some point, all of us have needed 
to (or will need to) transfer a large 
amount of contacts from the Outlook address 
book to another program; this could be to or 
from a mobile device, another e-mail client or 
even to a Webmail account. 

Outlook allows you to convert your contacts 
into the vCard format (this will be a .vcf file). 
This is a standard file format that can be read 
by most personal information management 
(PIM) software. So, for example, if you want to 
send someone your contact details, you send 
them your vCard file— which contains your 
address, telephone numbers, e-mail address, 
and more. This file can be read in Outlook or 
even on a mobile phone. The only disadvantage 
of using the vCard format in Outlook is that 
you can convert only one contact at a time. 

Using the vCard Wizard software, you can 
easily convert all your contacts (or even a few 
of them) to the vCard format with a few clicks. 
Transferring address books becomes easier and 
faster, and you can even import multiple vCard 




Digital Tools I Enhance 



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five contacts at a time 

of them by pressing [Ctrl] + [A] , or select 
each contact individually and press the Export 
icon on the toolbar. 

You can find the trial version of vCard Wizard 
on this month's CD. It is available for $14.95 (Rs 
590) from http://vcard4outlook.4team. biz/ . 

Linkedln Outlook Toolbar 

The most common problem you'll have faced 
with your Outlook address books is that your 
contacts change their contact details and neg- 
lect to inform you. Now, you can't be informed 
about changes in each contact's details, but you 
can at least know when your Linkedln friends 
update their contact details. 

The Linkedln Outlook toolbar allows you to 
integrate your Outlook address book with the 
Linkedln database. When you install it, it will 
compare all the e-mail addresses in your address 
book with the Linkedln database. 

A new icon will be created next to each 
e-mail address that matches the database, and if 
and when they update their details, the add-on 
will ask you whether you want to update the 
information in your contact list. In addition, the 
software keeps checking to see if those people 



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on your address book who weren't on Linkedln 
have signed up; if they do, it informs you about 
their presence. 

Besides just updating details, if you haven't 
interacted with any contacts for over 60 days, 
you are reminded to keep in touch with them— 
this could be really good or really irritating 
depending on who the contact is! 

When someone on your address book 
updates contact information on the site that was 
not listed in your Outlook address book, it asks 
you if you want to effect the update— sweet! 

WORD 

WordToys 

For those of you who often find 
yourselves struggling with the Win- 
dows Character Map to insert special characters 
in Word, we bring great news. No more strug- 
gling to find that Euro sign— just install Word- 
Toys! The add-on works with Word 2000, XP and 
2003-no Microsoft Word 2007 support yet, 
unfortunately. 

There are plenty of useful features here. 
Using WordToys you can save multiple Word doc- 
uments all in one go. You can also save all open 
documents as a workspace, and then close them; 
when you return, all you have to do is choose to 
restore your workspace— and all the files you had 
open will be opened up again. You can also 



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What better way to keep your business contacts up-to-date? 



WordToys: the most feature-rich add-on for Office 
2000 to 2003 

choose navigate through your open documents 
using tabs! 

After you've installed it, you will see that 
WordToys takes over your Word Toolbar and 
allows you to set favourite fonts, symbols, bullet 
menus, and more. You will also now have the 
ability to save any document as a PDF even if you 
don't have Acrobat installed. By default, Word 
2000 displays all the options on its toolbars, just 
greying out the unusable ones. WordToys will 
remove these to help you unclutter the toolbar. If 
you want to remain anonymous when ratting out 
your boss— or in any similar scenario— you can use 
WordToys to remove information such as Author, 
Organisation, and more from the Word docu- 
ment. There's so much more this software can do, 



46 



DIGIT OCTOBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Enhance 




you're going to have to try it to learn any more! 

It is available at http://tinyurl.com/ysyaer (or 
you can just search Download.com for it) for 
free. It's also on our June 2007 DVD. 

POWERPOINT 

Shortcut Manager For 
PowerPoint 

If you are a keyboard warrior (and 
that's a good thing), you will love Shortcut Man- 
ager for PowerPoint software made by 
OfficeOne. The Shortcut Manager allows you to 
configure innumerable keyboard shortcuts for 
PowerPoint. You can configure all these key 
combinations to do tasks like closing all 
slideshow windows, selecting pen colour while 
presenting slideshows, and more. You can also 
run individual macros based on the assigned 
keyboard shortcuts. What's more, you can 
download OfficeOne Shortcuts, a free add-on to 
Shortcut Manager that provides additional 
functionality. 

Shortcut Manager is priced at $30 (Rs 1,180) 
and can be downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/ 
38unsl. You can also download the free OfficeOne 
Shortcuts from http://tinyurl.com/ 2ve7m5. 

EXCEL 

Excel Conditional 
Formatting 

The ability to achieve conditional formatting 
when working with a lot of numbers is a real 
boon in Excel. The only challenge here is that 
you can have a maximum of three conditional 



You can edit the 
data in tables 
just like you 
would in an Excel 
worksheet 





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formatting options at any given point of time. 
This restricts you from getting more out of your 
worksheet. Not any more! 

The Excel Conditional Formatting add-on, 
which you can find on this month's CD, allows 
you to create an unlimited number of rules in 
a worksheet. Maths functions such as SUMIF 
and COUNTIF can also be used to create new 
sets of rules. Another advantage of this add-on 
is that you can freeze more than one row or 
column in a worksheet, this gives you greater 
control over all the the static data you want dis- 
played on your worksheet. 



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Why increase your presentation file size by embedding videos in it 
when you can stream them off the Internet right inside your 
slideshow? YouTube Video Wizard (available at skp.mvps.org/ 
youtube.htm) does just that. All you do is provide the YouTube video URL- 
and the add-on automatically converts this data to an embedded object 
format. When you start your slideshow and click on the Play button in the 
frame, the video starts streaming over the Net. Need we say more? 



Excel Conditional Formatting allows you to add an infi- 
nite number of conditional formats to a worksheet! 



ex Now 

So you're stuck with the boring task of making 
Excel documents full of graphs showing the per- 
formance of your company over the last quarter. 
Let's face it, how many of your viewers actually 
look at those graphs in detail? If you use CX Now, 
they probably will! 

This tool is not really an add-on in the true 
sense. When you install it, it shows up under its 
own interface, from where you can choose the 
type of chart you want to create— from the dif- 
ferent pie charts to the more commonly used bar 
graphs and loads more. An interesting feature 
here is the dashboard function, which allows you 
to see your data represented in the form of ana- 
logue dials! 

Using CX Now, you can make your charts 
more interactive by adding sliders to them when 
you input different values on the X and Y axis, 
the charts change. All this can be done without 
having to recreate the chart from scratch. 




Make your spreadsheets interactive 



OCTOBER 2007 DIGIT 



Digital Tools I Enhance 



After the chart is made, you can export it 
to Excel. 

Having said that, do bear in mind that 
this add-on is not for beginners. It takes a 
fair bit of ingenuity and chart-making experi- 
ence to get the most out of CX Now, but 
once you've used it, it's hard to get back 
to Excel's inbuilt chart options! Download 
the free version of CX Now from 
http://www.businessobjects.com/jump/cxnow/. 



"OS! THE MICROSOFT 
OFFICE SUITE 
Office | zoho Add-on for 
Microsoft Office 

This one allows you to write a document or 
compile a spreadsheet offline and upload it to 
your Zoho account without leaving the safe 
confines of your Office applications. The add- 
on works with Word and Excel but is not com- 
patible with the DOCX and XLSX formats in 
Office 2007. 

When Outlook is restarted after installing 
the Zoho add-on for the first time, you 
are prompted to save your Zoho account 
details in the software. You can access 
your Zoho documents from the "Open 
from Zoho" menu on the toolbar. After you're 
done writing a document or creating a spread- 
sheet, you can upload it online by going to the 
same menu. 

The Zoho Add-on uploads heavily-formatted 
and large documents fairly quickly, and when 
these are accessed online, the formatting is 
mostly similar to the originals. Find this tool on 
this month's CD. 

Classic Menu For Office 2007 

With the launch of Office 2007, the classic tool- 
bars are replaced by the Ribbon. If you've been 
using Office for some time now, moving over to 
the Ribbon could be daunting. 

Classic Menu for Office 2007, available on 
this month's CD, will work with Word, Excel 



and PowerPoint, bringing back the classic tool- 
bars you were so familiar with. It's a useful tool 
if you intend to migrate to 2007 and have the 
initial intimidated feeling about it. 

Microsoft's Save As PDF 

This add-on from Microsoft allows you to 
export and save files to PDF in all Office pro- 
grams. It also automatically sends files as e- 
mail attachments after having performed the 
PDF conversion. 

Before this add-on came along, the only way 
to save documents as PDF from within MS Office 
applications was to use CutePDF— freeware that 
is still downloadable from www.acrosoftware.com/ 
Products/CutePDF/writer.asp. 

Find this add-on on this month's CD. 

Office Update Inventory Tool 2.2 

This one comes across as a real boon to system 
administrators everywhere. The days of man- 
ually noting the updates rolled out to 
computers in an office are long gone: the 



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You need now never miss updating Office on 
any workstation 

Office Update Inventory Tool enables admin- 
istrators to check several computers for the 
status of Microsoft Office 2000, XP, 2003 and 
2007 updates. 

From a central location, administrators 
can run this add-on on client computers to 
find which Office updates have already been 
installed, which haven't, and which updates 
require administrator privileges. Of course, 
the add-on needs to be installed on every com- 
puter before the sys-admin gets to use his new- 
found powers. We've provided the tool on this 
month's CD. 

Add-outs? 

We've tried to restrict the add-ons mentioned 
here to freeware and trial versions. However, 
these should only whet your appetite: there 
are a plethora of paid add-ons too, which you 
can find at www.office-addins.com. 

If you liked any of the tools we've men- 
tioned here, you're going to love the ones at 
that site! El 

asfaq_tapia@thinkdigit.com 



DIGIT OCTOBER 2007 




m 




All relationships in life are based on compatibility...when it's there-it works! When 
absent-kaput! Same goes for our test subjects-the inseparable twosome- 
motherboards and processors. This time 21 processors and 48 motherboards 
compete for the space in your cabinet 




Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



Sanket Naik and Michael Browne 



It's oft said that the best things in life come 
in pairs. Even here— in the world of the per- 
sonal computer, where philosophy and 
romance take a nose dive out of the win- 
dow—you'll find this adage holding good. If 
you've ever shopped for a computer part-by-part, 
chances are you'll spend a good deal of time decid- 
ing on which processor is right for you— matching 
processing power with purchasing power. 

We at Digit feel the relationship between 
motherboard and processor is akin to the rela- 
tionship between chassis and engine, where 
the choice of one essentially limits the capa- 
bilities of the other. Thankfully akin to 
Maruti's and BMW's— there's something to suit 
every extremity of demand, with a whole lot of 
options in between! 

THE ENGINE 

The drops in processor prices— both from Intel 
and AMD— in the past year have made comput- 
ing power ridiculously cheap. For Instance, the 
Intel Core 2 DUO E6700, which retailed at 
Rs 27,500 when we first tested it, (it was the sec- 
ond-best processor you could buy then) is now 
available for just Rs 8,250! The cheapest proces- 
sor that's available today comes for a paltry 
Rs 1,600— of course, it's an AMD— and the sub-Rs 
10,000 PC isn't a myth anymore. 

Intel's Core architecture has paid good divi- 
dends, while AMD is still stuck with their older 
K9 architecture. The newer K10 architecture will 
debut on the desktop within the next two 
months, so stay tuned for an update. It'll be 
interesting to see whether the new architecture 
will topple Intel's dominating Core. 

The Core 2 Duo and Athlon X2 have pushed 
desktops into the realm of dual-core comput- 
ing, and now, it's quad-core that's making its 
presence felt. Last year, Intel's Core 2 QX6700 
was atrociously priced at Rs 52,000, but it's 
now down to a meagre Rs 11,750. While Intel 
was first to market with their quad-core 
processors— two dual-cores slapped on to a sin- 
gle die— AMD is taking their own time to come 
with a native quad-core processor— designed 
from the ground up to be quad-core, unlike 
Intel's smart approach. 



Farcry (FPS) Higher the better 



Intel E6850 

Intel QX6850~ 

Intel E6750 

Intel E6700 

Intel Q6600 

Intel E6600 

Athlon64 X2 6400+" 

Athlon64 X2 6000+" 

Intel E4400" 

Athlon64 X2 5600+" 

Athlon64 X2 5400+ 

Athlon64 X2 5200+" 

Athlon64 X2 4200+" 

Sempron 3800+ 

Athlon64 X2 BE 2350_ 

Sempron 3600+ 



mm 



mm 



mi 



m 



wsx 



m 



w 



mm 

EH 



Efl 



Multi-core might be the future that both 
Intel and AMD are projecting, but as it stands 
today, the software we use can hardly tap into 
power on offer. The software industry will take 
another two to three years to catch up to the 
hardware, and it'll be worth the wait. 

We've rounded up twelve processors from 
AMD, from the very basic Semprons to the 
Athlon64 X2s and the special BE series of 
power-efficient processors. From Intel, we have 
most of the updated Core 2 Duos, the Q6600 
quad-core, and the top-of-the-line QX 6850. For 
reference, we have included the older genera- 
tion Core 2 Duos from our last test— but they 
aren't available in the market anymore. 

Performance 

We start with real-world applications like 
audio / video encoding, games and 2D / 3D ren- 
dering—the performance of these application 
depends quite heavily on the processor. After 
that come the synthetic benchmarks— 
Wprime, Sciencemark 2.0, WinRAR 3.7 and 
SiSoft Sandra 2007. 

Gaming 

Company of Heroes 

In this RTS game, we see the Core 2 Duo 
E6850 at the top spot, outdoing even its quad- 
core sibling— the QX6850— by a small 5 fps. 
The same peculiarity turns up with the E6600 



Intel E6850 

Intel QX6850 

Intel E6750 

Intel E6700 

Intel E6600 

Intel Q6600 

Athlon64 X2 6400+ 

Athlon64 X2 5600+ 

Athlon64 X2 6000+ 

Intel E4400 

Athlon64 X2 5400 

Athlon64 X2 5200+ 

Athlon64 X2 5000+ 


Company o 


f Heroes (fps) Higher the b 


etter 
















Srri 




















Ea 




























2~r 






Athlon64 X2 4200+ 




^KH 








thlon64 X2 BE-2350 




^Rfel 








Sempron 3800+ 




H*£l 








Sempron 3500+ 




Wl 










100 150 

■ FPX@800X 



and Q6600— for some reason, the quad-core 
processors are taking a hit in this particular 
game. The top spots are all taken by Intel 
processors, with fabulous frame rates. The 
Athlon64 6400+ doesn't quite make a mark 
here, and there is a difference of 67 fps 
between it and the E6850. Interestingly, the 
Athlon64 X2 BE2350 (the power efficient 
series) processors keep up well with rest of 
the Athlons— a proper balance of power effi- 
ciency and performance. 

Far Cry 

Again, very similar results— the quad-core 
processors are barely able to deliver better 
scores than their Core 2 Duo counterparts. 
Unless games are programmed to take advan- 
tage of multi-processor environments, we'll 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



see negligible performance gains. Except for 
the E4400, all other Intel processors gave us 
better fps scores than AMD's top-end proces- 
sors. The Athlon64 5600+ fell just shy of the 
E4400 by one fps, and we think it offers the 
best value for money among the AMD bunch. 

Doom 3 

The results for Doom 3 are quite similar to other 
two games— the quad-core processors from Intel 
fall short of expectations. 

Intel's processors are clear winners in the 
gaming arena; no gaming PC should be without 
one. Interestingly, AMD's Athlon64 X2 5200+ 
does come close to Intel's new E4400, and offers 
similar value. 



Intel E6850" 

Intel QX6850 

Intel E6750 

Intel E6600 

Intel Q6600" 

Athlon64 X2 6400+" 

Intel E6400" 

Athlon64 X2 6000+" 

Athlon64 X2 5600+" 

Athlon64 X2 5400+" 

Intel E4400 

Athlon64 X2 5200+" 

Athlon64 X2 4200+" 

thlon64 X2 BE-2350 


Do 


3m 3 (fps) 


Higher the 


better 




EH 






























mi 
m 








































































Mm 






Sempron 3800+ 




^■•£1 








Sempron 3600+ 




^K51 









How We Tested 



Machine Configuration 

All Intel LGA 775-based processors are tested on an ASUS P5K Deluxe 
motherboard, based on Intel's P35 Chipset. For AMD processors, we 
use an ASUS M2A-VM HDMI motherboard, based on AMD's 690 
chipset. Corsair stays our choice for memory-we used 2 GB of 1066 
MHz RAM at 4-4-4-12 settings (wherever possible). An XFX 8800 GTX 
graphics card was used on this rig, with NVIDIA's ForceWare version 
158.22. On the software front, Windows XP with SP2 was freshly 
loaded on a Hitachi 7200 RPM, 250 GB SATA drive. Coolermaster Real 
Power Pro 550 watt powered the rig. The drive was defragmented 
before each new processor run. The motherboards used were 
updated with the latest available BIOS patches; driver releases for 
chipsets and other critical peripherals were updated as well. 

Benchmarks 

PCMark 05 and 3DMark 06: These benchmarks from FutureMark 
are widely used to gauge performance on a system- as well as sub- 
system-level. Though mostly related to graphics performance, each 
of these benchmarks has a really well-developed CPU test that taxes 
the processor to the maximum. We used the default settings and run 
only the CPU test. Each test was run thrice. 
Far Cry and Doom 3: Both these games boast high graphic details, 
and are quite taxing on the processor, making them ideal processor 
benchmarks. We ran both of them at 640 x 480 and 800 x 600 to 
put more stress on the CPU. 

Company of Heroes: This is the latest in the breed of RTS games 
and one that can bring the best of machines down to their knees 
with its ultra. Settings were kept at high, and since the game doesn't 
allow 640 x 480, we used 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768. The built-in 
benchmark gives the resulting fps. 



Intel E6850 

Intel QX6850" 

Intel E6750" 

Intel E6700_ 

Intel E6600 

Intel Q6600 

Athlon64 X2 6400+" 

Athlon64 X2 6000+" 

Athlon64 X2 5600+" 

Athlon64 X2 5400+" 

Intel E4400" 

Athlon64 X2 5200+" 

Athlon64 X2 5000+ 

Athlon64 X2 4200+" 

Sempron 3800+ 

Sempron 3600+ 

Athlon64 X2 BE-2350_ 

Sempron 3500+ 



Ripping Time (Sec) Lower the better 

ED 
^E3 






EZ9 



EH 



El 



m 



tm 



mm 






DivX Encoding 

The graph you see is more the shortcoming of the 
DivX encoder than the processors'— the encoder 
hasn't incorporated code for multiple processors. 
We see better results with increasing clock 
speeds, and not multiple cores. Again, the quad- 
core processors trail their dual-core counter 
parts, albeit by a very small margin. All the top- 
end Intel processors outdo AMD by a significant 
margin. The duel between Athlon64 X2 5200+ 
and E4400 should be noted again— they're sepa- 
rated by a hair's breadth. The Athlon64 X2 BE 
2350 and 2300 trail behind the Semprons-this 
again is because the encoder favours higher clock 
speeds, so the lower-clocked BEs take a hit. 



DivX Encoding: We encoded a 100 MB VOB file to DivX using the 

DivX 6.2.5 video converter. This benchmark is run thrice for each 

processor, and the final score is an average of the three encoding 

times. 

CINEBENCH 10.1: CINEBENCH 10.1 is a free benchmarking tool for 

Windows and Mac OS. It is based on the CINEMA 4D engine. 

CINEBENCH 10 tests processors for OpenGL processing, 

multithreading and multi-processing. 

POV-Ray 3.6: The Persistence Of Vision raytracer, a tool that creates 

an image by mathematical calculation. The number-crunching 

involved is processor-intensive, making it a great processor 

benchmark. In the default installation, we used the "Chess2" and 

"landscape" scenes to be rendered at 1024 x 768 resolution without 

anti-aliasing. 

ScienceMark 2.0: ScienceMark 2.0, as the name suggests, is a 

benchmark based on scientific calculations. This benchmark consists 

of multiple benchmarks that test the various aspects of a processor. 

We use the Molecular dynamics, Primordia, Cryptography, Stream 

and Memory benchmarks. 

WinRAR 3.7: WinRAR 3.7 offers a built-in benchmark, operating on 

random data that is processed in the memory-this prevents hard 

disk performance from affecting the test results. 

W Prime: A small freeware utility that calculates square-roots 

of large of numbers. This utility is multi-threaded, so takes good 

advantage of multi-core processors. We use the 32 M 

calculations option. 

SiSoft Sandra 2007: This is the good old benchmarking tool with 

newer tests. We logged scores particularly related to the CPU, such 

as Dryhstone, Whetstone, Multimedia index (Integer and Float) and 

Cache performance for a 4 MB data block. 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Branded PC Test 



i 



CineBench 10 

The graph has two bars— the top bar represents 
CineBench's using all cores and the bottom bar 
is the performance achieved with just a single 
core. Intel's QX6850 rips apart the competition, 
as does the affordable Q6600. For the first time, 
the Athlon64 X2 6400+ makes it to the top 
league. Interestingly, X2 5200+ beats the Intel 
E4400 by a fair margin in both Single as well as 
multi-core environments. 



CineBench (Units) Higher the better 




WPrime 

This time we choose Wprime over Super-Pi— it 
scales better with multi-core processors and 
clock speed. The results are a mixed bag, with 
Intel's quad-cores taking the top slots— they are 
able to work with four threads each time, and 
hence complete the calculation faster. On the 
dual-core front, higher clock speeds determine 
the results-the AMD 6400+ and 6000+ follow, 
ahead of the E6850 and E6750. 



Intel QX6850 




WP 


rime Ti 


me (Sec 


) Lower t 
EH 


he better 






aea 




Intel Q6600 




BKtfM 








Atholon64 X6400+ 






win 










Athlon64 X2 6000+ 






WAiWi*l 










Intel E6850 
















Athlon64 X2 5400+ 






■sTilTSE 










Athlon64 X2 5600+ 






iMWfltkl 












Athlon64 X2 5200+ 
















Athlon64 X2 5000+ 








Intel E6750~ 

Athlon64 X2 4200+" 

thlon64 X2 BE-2350~ 

Intel E4400 

Sempron 3800+ 

Sempron 3600+ 


















EllL 









































0.00 10.00 20.00 30.00 40.00 50.00 60.00 70.00 80.00 90.00 100.00 



ScienceMark 2.0 

Scientific calculations have always been AMD's 
strength and we've seen this happen in all proces- 
sor comparisons. AMD's FPU completely domi- 
nates—the Athlon64 X2 6400+ comes out top, fol- 
lowed by the 6000+. Intel's QX6850 and E6850 are 
separated by a small margin for third place. 

WinRAR 3.7 

WinRAR's built-in benchmark gives a good indi- 
cation of processors' capability at compressing 
files, and it also supports multi-threading. As 



expected, the quad-cores have a 
clear lead. Except for the E4400, 
all other Intel processors are clear- 
ly ahead of their respective AMD 
counterparts. 



BEST BUY 



ma 



NOVEMBER 2007 




Intel QX6850 

The Fastest processor money can buy 

3D Mark 06 And PC Mark 05 

The quad-cores are at the head of the pack, fol- 
lowed by the top end dual-cores from Intel. 
AMD's 6400+ also comes very close to third 
position in the 3DMark benchmark. These 
benchmarks serve as a good indicator of how 
well applications optimised for multi-core 
processors scale when presented with the right 
environment. AMD's Athlon64 X2 5200+ man- 
ages to stay ahead of Intel's dual-core E4400, 
and that's commendable. 

Verdict 

Overall, the scene hasn't changed much— Intel 
clearly dominates most of the benchmarks, 
except for scientific calculations where AMD's 
traditionally strong FPU gives them a small 
lead. If you want the best CPU available, it's 
Intel's Core Quad QX6850 which retails for Rs 
52,000. However, we're all looking for value 
within our budgets, so read on to find out 
which processors give you the best perform- 
ance for your budget. 

Decision Maker 

In this graph, we've normalised both price and 
performance with respect to Intel's QX6850, 
which is the best processor you can buy. 

Reading the graph is quite simple— in a par- 
ticular price range, compare two adjacent 
graphs. For example, let's take the Athlon64 
4200+ and the Sempron 3800+. For a two-unit 
rise in price, you can get up to thirteen more 
units of performance from the 4200+, making it 
a better buy than the 3800+. Similarly, you can 
compare other models to figure out which 
processor gives the best bang for the buck. 

We've divided the graph into three price 
ranges. The best performer in each category is 
used as a point of reference. 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



Price Performance 



120 



100 



80 



60 



20 




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Under Rs 5,000 

In the sub-5000 category, we find only AMD 
processors. It's quite clear that the Athlon64 
X2 4200+ offers the best bang for the buck. 
Both the BE2350 and BE2300 offer relatively 
less performance, but with a TDP (Thermal 
Design Power) of 45W, they're aimed at power- 
conscious users. 

Semprons, though good processors, should 
only be considered if you want the bare mini- 
mum configurations. 



Between 5000-10,000 



Under 5,000 



Sempron 
3600+ 



Sempron 
3800+ 



Athlon 64 ' Athlon 64 ' Athlon 64 
X2 BE-2300 X2 BE-2350 X2 4200+ 



RS 5,000-10,000 

This is an important category— most of us end 
up buying processors in this range. The cate- 
gory is fairly large with a wide distribution, so 
we'll subdivide it into Rs 5,000-7,500 and 
Rs 7,500-10,000. In the Rs 5,000-7,500 category, 
AMD's Athlon64 X2 5000+ offers the maxi- 
mum value, followed by the Athlon64 X2 
5200+. In the Rs 7,500-10,000 bracket, Intel's 
E6750 offers good value for money and should 
be considered over all other processors in this 
category when building a gaming or enter- 
tainment system. 




Intel ' Athlon 64 ' Athlon 64 ' Athlon 64 ' Athlon 64 ' Athlon 64 ' Intel 
E4400 X2 5000+ X2 5200+ X2 5400+ X2 5600+ X2 6000+ E6750 




Above 10,000 



I 

Athlon64 
X2 6400+ 





Intel ' Intel ' Intel 

06600 E6850 QX6850 



Over Rs 10,000 

In this category, both the E6850 and Q6600 are 
equally good. The E6850 has a clear lead in sin- 
gle-threaded applications (which dominate our 
everyday lives), but on multi-threaded applica- 
tions, the Q6600 trounces the E6850-it's the 
more future-proof option. The Athlon64 X2 
6400+ does perform well, but on price / per- 
formance scale we won't recommend it. Intel's 
poster boy— the QX6850— is the ultimate num- 
ber-cruncher money can buy today; if you have 
dough, go for it. 

Of course, behind every good processor is a 
motherboard— read on to find the perfect 
match for your purchase. 



Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



BRAND 
MODEL 



* EOL (End of life) 



rice (Exclusive Of Taxes) 



Performance (Out Of 100) 



res 



BEST BUY 

pifir 



> BESTBUV^ 




Intel 
Intel QX6850 



Intel 
Intel E6850 



Intel 
Intel E6750 



Intel 
Intel E6700 



Intel 
Intel Q6600 




I K 




rJ—^ 



~ superD perrornit 
- Very expensive 



- Relatively expensive 




Single/Dual/Quad Core 


Quad Core 


Dual Core 


Dual Core 


Dual Core 


Quad Core 


CPU Frequency 


3 GHz 


3 GHz 


2.66 GHz 


2.66 GHz 


2.4 GHz 


L2 Cache 


8MB 


4MB 


4MB 


4MB 


8MB 


ScienceMark 2.0 












Molecular Dynamics 


1457.11 


1469.17 


1305.47 


1306.88 


1167.55 


Primordia 


1514.82 


1539.89 


1364.14 


1350.68 


1213.43 


Cryptography 


1421.4 


1421.32 


1269.72 


1267.86 


1141.2 


Stream 


1894.05 


1876.05 


1884.7 


1578.56 


1573.85 


Memory Benchmark 


1864.91 


1853.42 


1824.46 


1663.35 


1641.04 



Resulting Rate 



2029 KBps 



1470 KBps 



1422 KBps 



1386 KBps 



1817 KBps 



SiSoft Sandra 2007 


Arithmetic Benchmark 












Dhrystone 


55356 


27,694 


24608 


24,625 


44348 


Whetstone 


38682 


19,299 


17182 


16,984 


30896 


Multimedia Benchmark 












Integer 


330984 


165430 


147046 


147199 


264838 


Float 


180097 


90,030 


80036 


80,074 


144085 


Cache Memory (4MB score) 


81288 


39,110 


34892 


34,781 


65423 


Wprime (32 Million) 


14.96 sec 


29.92 sec 


33.6 sec 


33.7 sec 


18.62 sec 














CPU Benchmark 












Rendering 1 CPU 


3089 


3090 


2750 


2752 


2481 


Rendering 2 CPU 


10819 


5928 


5271 


5197 


8779 


Graphics Benchmark 


6233 


6178 


5877 


5927 


5080 



PovRay 3.16 


Chess2 (1024 x 768) 


240.97 sec 


240.69 sec 


266.7 sec 


269.72 sec 


314.28 sec 


Landscape (1024 x 768) 


116.33 sec 


116.66 sec 


130.86 sec 


131.56 sec 


145.55 sec 


DIVX Encode (sec) 


70 sec 


69 sec 


76 sec 


77 sec 


84 sec 


PCMark 05 (CPU Score) 


9688 


7715 


6873 


6863 


7769 


3DMark 06 (CPU Score) 


4729 


2692 


2401 


2385 


3808 



Far Cry 












640 X 480 


141 fps 


142 fps 


129 fps 


128 fps 


118 fps 


800 X 600 


161 fps 


160 fps 


146 fps 


142 fps 


133 fps 


640 X 480 


262 fps 


264 fps 


243 fps 


235 fps 


220 fps 


800 X 600 


263 fps 


262 fps 


239 fps 


234 fps 


219 fps 


800 X 600 


210 fps 


215 fps 


199 fps 


194 fps 


175 fps 


1024 X 768 


190 fps 


194 fps 


182 fps 


179 fps 


170 fps 




* EOL = End of Life Product: included for reference 


56 


DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 













Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



Intel 
Intel E6600 



Intel 
Intel E6400 



Intel 
Intel E4400 



Intel 
Intel E6300 




EOL* 



Dual Core 



EOL* 



Dual Core 



+ Relatively inexpensive 
- Mediocre perfrormance 



Dual Core 



EOL* 



Dual Core 



AMD 
Athlon 64 X2 6400+ 



AMD 
Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 





+ Good performance 
- Not so good for gaming 



Dual Core 



+ Reasonable performance 
- NA 



Dual Core 



2.4 GHz 
4MB 



1173.41 
1221.25 
1142.73 



2.13 GHz 
2MB 



1044.3 

1088.84 

1015.75 



2 GHz 



2MB 



1.87 GHz 
2048 KB X 2 



974.45 
1024.52 
951.2 



914.32 
957.17 
890.68 



3.2 GHz 

2MB 



1634.23 
1546.16 
1629.79 



3 GHz 



2MB 



1528.46 
1506.18 
1529 



1583.34 



1585.04 



1186.11 



1578.94 



1894.98 



1778.85 



1654.85 



1612.63 



1273.71 



1586.38 



1810.05 



1711.84 



1331 KBps 



1209 KBps 



985 KBps 



1138 KBps 



1257 KBps 



1196 KBps 



22134 



19681 



18489 



17234 



23,225 



21767 



15301 



13608 



12891 



11887 



19574 



18303 



132519 
72168 



117764 
64112 



110384 
60110 



102834 
55989 



60,226 
66,328 



56491 
62096 



31472 
37.39 sec 



5120 
41.54 sec 



4308 
44.95 sec 



5015 
47.42 sec 



3360 
25.5 sec 




2484 
4693 



2186 
4134 



2043 
3919 



1917 
3648 



2707 
5284 



2550 
4991 



5412 



4699 



4441 



4292 



4887 



4523 



299.67 sec 



359.44 sec 



364.8 sec 



382.92 sec 



241.9 sec 



259.3 sec 



145.8 sec 



163.97 sec 



174.1 sec 



187.41 sec 



120.6 sec 



128.9 sec 



83 sec 



94 sec 



103 sec 



105 sec 



90 sec 



94 sec 



6166 



5490 



5140 



4809 



6543 



6130 



2151 



1905 



1781 



1673 



2454 



2301 



117 fps 



102 fps 



91 fps 



93 fps 



99 fps 



93 fps 



132 fps 


114 fps 






220 fps 


182 fps 


219 fps 


184 fps 


180 fps 


142 fps 



100 fps 



160 fps 



103 fps 
165 fps 



112 fps 
191 fps 



105 fps 



178 fps 



161 fps 



164 fps 



123 fps 



125 fps 



190 fps 
148 fps 



178 fps 



134 fps 



173 fps 



144 fps 



126 fps 



128 fps 



149 fps 



139 fps 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



57 




I Performance 



Resulting Rate 



AMD 
Athlon 64 X2 5600+ 



AWtf AtM9»'f* X3 



' . "tram 



AMD 
Athlon 64 X2 5400+ 



AMD 
Athlon 64 X2 5200+ 



AMD 
Athlon 64 X2 5000+ 






bw. 





+ Good value for money + Good performance for the price + Better than E4400 

- Mediocre gaming performance - l MB cache - Average performance 



+ Affordable 

- Mediocre performance 



Performance (Out Of 100) 


51.84 


50.15 


47.40 


45.44 




Single/Dual Core 


Dual Core 


Dual Core 


Dual Core 


Dual Core 


CPU Frequency 


2.8 GHz 


2.8 GHz 


2.7 GHz 


2.6 GHz 


L2 Cache 


2MB 


1MB 


1MB 


1MB 



ScienceMark 2.0 










Molecular Dynamics 


1424.39 


1423.98 


1366.73 


1323.86 


Primordia 


1357.15 


1358.28 


1298.17 


1256.26 


Cryptography 


1428.52 


1430.74 


1372.19 


1322.04 


Stream 


1772.58 


1794.65 


1675.27 


1630.19 


Memory Benchmark 


1706.36 


1763.31 


1613.24 


1565.53 



|l!91 KBps 



| 1156 KBps 



1061 KBps 



1013 KBps 



SiSoft Sandra 2007 


Arithmetic Benchmark 










Dhrystone 


20330 


20332 


19592 


18845 


Whetstone 


17168 


17208 


16464 


15869 


Multimedia Benchmark 










Integer 


52767 


52780 


50791 


48909 


Float 


58044 


58062 


55903 


53830 


Cache Memory (4MB score) 


3615 


3670 


3466 


3355 


Wprime (32 Million) 


30.76 sec 


30.68 sec 


31.95 sec 


33.19 sec 










CPU Benchmark 










Rendering 1 CPU 


2387 


2314 


2212 


2133 


Rendering 2 CPU 


4681 


4486 


4280 


4140 


Graphics Benchmark 


4507 


4317 


4225 


3896 



PovRay 3.16 


Chess2 (1024 x 768) 


282.36 sec 


277.7 sec 


293.31 sec 


301.59 sec 


Landscape (1024 x 768) 


137.91 sec 


170.2 sec 


179.61 sec 


193.64 sec 


DIVX Encode (sec) 


98 sec 


100 sec 


104 sec 


108 sec 


PCMark 05 (CPU Score) 


5723 


5720 


5491 


5277 


3DMark 06 (CPU Score) 


2158 


2145 


2055 


1979 





Far Cry 








640 X 480 


90fps 


84 fps 


80 fps 


76 fps 


800 X 600 


102 fps 


97 fps 


90 fps 


87 fps 


640x480 


175 fps 


165 fps 


153 fps 


147 fps 


800 X 600 


176 fps 


164 fps 


153 fps 


148 fps 


800 x 600 


134 fps 


122 fps 


111 fps 


102 fps 


1024 X 768 


134 fps 


121 fps 


111 fps 


106 fps 



Win a 26" LCD TV! 

Answer 6 simple questions and 
stake claim to a 26" LCD TV! 



AMD 
Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 






AMD AMD 

Athlon 64 X2 BE-2300 Athlon 64 X2 BE-2350 






•MS* U «.iftm,< I 



r- 


AMD 


*rt/an T -' £4 X2 


1 




m 




a f -: 

i - 






e 


^ n^-euMPr 





AMD 
Sempron 3800+ 




AMD 
Sempron 3600+ 




AMD 
Sempron 3600+ 




+ Excellent value for money 
- Relatively slow 



+ Low wattage (45w) + Low wattage (45w) + Affordable price 

- Mediocre performance/price - Mediocre performance/price - Single Core 



+Affordable price 
- Low cache 



+ Cheapest processor 
- Low on performance 



Dual Core 
2.2 GHz 



Dual Core 
1.9 GHz 



Dual Core 
2.1 GHz 



Single Core 
2.2 GHz 



Single Core 
2 GHz 



Single Core 
2 GHz 



1MB 



1MB 



1MB 



256KB 



256KB 



128KB 



1120.58 



964.05 



1070.36 



902.07 



809.31 



806 



1069.52 



916.11 



1013.81 



827.51 



752.03 



780.84 



1124.32 



967.72 



1063.15 



1076.24 



982.44 



983.57 



1541.23 
1493.3 



1359.23 
1374.53 



1442.11 
1361.53 



1730.24 
1658.06 



1685.95 
1657.29 



1744.94 
1796.75 



990 KBps 



900 KBps 



908 KBps 



505 KBps 



505 KBps 



482 KBps 



15977 
13501 



13783 
11583 



15210 
12808 



7969 
6735 



7243 
6109 



7249 
6117 



41469 



35710 



39485 



20693 



18823 



18825 



45624 



39285 



43437 



22706 



20641 



20628 



3270 



3260 



3018 



2999 



2940 



2955 



1826 



1574 



1732 



1765 



1627 



1559 



3575 
3623 



3094 
3282 



3392 
3385 



NA 
3774 



NA 

3634 



NA 

3483 



357.9 sec 




Logon to www.zdnetindia.com 



ZDNet India 



' The make and model of the LCD TV depicted in thfs ad Is subject to change 



Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



THE CHASSIS 

A couple of years ago, if you thought a good 
motherboard was a luxury, we'd have forgiven 
you. Today, because of the slew of motherboard 
vendors who have flooded our markets over the 
last year, it's not any more— in terms of neither 
availability nor cost. We're not talking about 
just a small brand office in a couple of metros, 
but actual market availability. 

We've busted another myth this year as 
well— motherboards based on the latest 
chipsets aren't as expensive as you'd expect 
them to be anymore! Vendors in India have tra- 
ditionally categorised the market into two sec- 
tions—those who can afford good boards and 
those who can't. The former section of PC users 
have been wooed with expensive premium offer- 
ings, while the latter section have to be content 
with value boards that are wafer-thin on fea- 
tures. This time round, we've truly seen some- 
thing for everyone, and it's you— the cus- 
tomers—who are to be thanked for this! 

You've become more discerning and you 
know what you want— during one of our 
sojourns to Lamington Road (Mumbai's hard- 
ware hub) we were pleased to see customers 
actually asking for boards on the basis of 
chipsets and brands. In fact, they'd Googled 
up the specifications and features of the 
boards they were interested in, and weren't 
moved by the shopkeeper who was trying to 
placate them with other offerings. 

INTEL P35-BASED 
MOTHERBOARDS 

Intel's P35 chipset is their replacement for the 
older (and excellent) P965 chipset. 
Motherboards based on this chipset have native 
support for the 1333 MHz FSB that the new 
Core 2 Duo processors (E6x50) support. 
Additionally, they will also support the upcom- 
ing 45 nm Penryn. The memory controller sup- 
ports DDR3, but Intel has left it to vendors to 
decide whether to provide DDR2 or DDR3 slots. 
The Southbridge— ICH9R— is also rumoured to 
be better; the P965's used the ICH8R. 

Features 

Of the 15 boards in this category, we chose to 
compare only 14 on the same platform. The ASUS 
P5K3 Premium is a luxury even among luxurious 
boards (a Bentley among Mercs, if you will). It's 
the first board we've seen embedded with 2 GB of 
DDR3 memory— there are no memory slots. 
There's enough copper on the board for it to be 
used as a very heavy albeit costly weapon! Priced 
at Rs 70,000, this is a sin- 
ful indulgence— not to 
mention the sad fact 
that you cannot upgrade 
to 4 GB of RAM whatever 
you do! 

All the ASUS P35 
boards had excellent lay- 
outs and were exception- 
ally well built, with good 
quality components. We 
had one major grouse— 



BEST BUY 



ASUS 

P5K Premium 

The ultimate premium board 



the first two SATA ports are blocked (though not 
completely so as to prevent their use) by large 
graphics cards like our 8800GTX. ASUS provides 
dual Gigabit LAN ports and integrated Wi-Fi on 
their Deluxe and Premium boards. The ASUS Blitz 
series is part of their Republic of Gamers fran- 
chise, which means they are more overclocker- 
friendly than the other boards, have a lot of most- 
ly flashy and sometimes useful LEDs, and cost, 
well, a lot (Rs 17,000 and above)! The Blitz mother- 
boards also had water blocks on the Northbridge 
cooling solution for extreme tweakers who plan 
on using liquid cooling solutions. Furthermore, 
the Blitz boards have a special LCD screen to dis- 
play the POST (Power-on Self-test) status— instead 
of the regular hexadecimal POST display, ASUS 
offers an LCD that converts the hexadecimal value 
to regular English— nifty, but you pay a premium 
for this feature. 

Abit's IP-35 Pro Off Limits has a very useful 
CMOS reset switch on the back panel (something 
ASUS does with a button on their Blitz series). 
The IP-35 Pro is very overclocker- 
friendly— very well laid out and 
numerous BIOS options. It 
even has a HEX error 
code poster to 
make debug- 
ging easier. 
The IP-35 E 
is aimed at the 
general audience— 
and although it overclocks 
well, it misses out on some of the 
finer nuances (like the CMOS reset button). 
Gigabyte's P35 DQ6 comes with a lot of cop- 
per in the form of an elaborate heat-pipe solu- 
tion that we found downright ugly. Compared to 
the ASUS P5K Deluxe and Premium— which dis- 
sipate the same amount of heat and are aimed at 
the same audience (overclockers)— we don't see 
the need for such a massive cooling solution. It 
also boasts of Gigabyte's "6 Quad" features— 
though this is more marketing speak than any- 
thing significant. While a 12-phase power supply 
to the CPU sounds good, this is a novelty rather 
than a very useful feature, and a six- or eight- 
phase design will do just fine. We did like the 
high quality, solid state capacitors, which should 
improve durability significantly. 

MSI's P35 Diamond is another good looker 
(though the ASUS boards definitely look better). 
The BIOS also has a very annoying setting for 
increasing voltages— you have to keep using the 
plus (+) and minus (-) keys to change them. 
BioStar's P35 doesn't allow the CAS latency to 
go lower than 5— this is a bane for overclockers, 





Traditional SATA connects interfere with bigger 
graphics cards and cause clutter 



l^^j^Jff V r«VV ^^ 




2jy^ji 





SATA ports that face outwards like this prevents cable 
clutter and won't foil larger graphics cards 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



and does affect performance during bench- 
marking. There's a flaw with the layout of this 
board— the 24-pin power connector is placed 
bang in the middle of the motherboard, and 
right between the CPU and graphics card— two 
very hot components; we have to wonder what 
BioStar was thinking! 

In terms of overclocking features, all these 
boards allow you to play around, but ASUS' BIOS 
is very newbie-friendly— and you can safely over- 
volt your CPU with minuscule increments of 
0.00625 volts! 

ECS' P35 doesn't support memory frequencies 
above 800 MHz— a pity for those who happen to 
have fast memory— and hence limits overclocking. 
Additionally, the BIOS doesn't allow you to fix the 
multiplier and there's no option to enable or dis- 
able EIST (Enhanced Intel SpeedStep— a standard 
option on boards for Core 2 Duo processors). 

MSI's P35 Neo is a nice value offering at 
Rs 6,600 after all the Rs 12,000-plus offerings 
from ASUS and Gigabyte. It's well laid out, 
though shy on some of the extra frills like E- 
SATA, POST displays and power buttons on the 
board, copper heatpipes etc. 

Performance 

We noticed that the DDR3 motherboards per- 
formed slightly better— this shows that the 
Intel Core 2 Duo is sensitive to bandwidth 



How We Tested 



3 < 


Intel P35 Performance Comparisons 




CD in 
o. 




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20 40 

■ Doom 3 (FPS) 



60 80 100 120 140 

■ 3D Mark 2005 PC Mark 2005 



We categorised our motherboards based on the way customers 
like to buy them-on the basis of the all important chipset: 
> Intel P35-based 
- NVIDIA 680i / 650i-based 

■ Intel P965-based 

■ All boards with integrated graphics (for those who can't be 
bothered with an add-on graphics card 

We used the following test components: 



Processor 


Intel 

Core 2 duo X6800 @ 2.93 GHz 


AMD 

Athlon X2 6400+ @ 3.2 GHz 


Memory 


Corsair Dominator PC2 8500 @ 800 MHz (4-4- 
4-12) / Kingston PC3 8500 @ 1066 MHz (7-7-7-24) 


Corsair Dominator PC2 8500 @ 800 
MHz (4-4-4-12) 


Graphics 


NVIDIA 8800 GTX @ 575/1800 MHz 


NVIDIA 8800 GTX @ 575/1800 MHz 


HDD 


Western Digital Raptor 10,000 rpm 74 GB x 2 


Western Digital Raptor 10,000 rpm 74 
GBx2 


OS 


Windows XP Prof SP2 


Windows XP Prof SP2 


VGA Driver version 


Forceware 158.22 


Forceware 158.22 



In addition, we installed the latest BIOS updates and drivers, 
downloaded from the manufacturers' sites. 

Features 

Besides all the regular features, we also took a special look at the 
layout of the motherboards, and rated them on general component 
layout-capacitors around the CPU region, placements of IDE and 
SATA connectors, power connectors, memory slot placement, the 
type of VGA slot retention mechanism and so on. Due to space 
restrictions in these pages, we've shown an average score of all 
these parameters. 

We also looked very carefully at overclocking options that 
many motherboards today provide. With overclocking becoming 
very idiot-proof, anyone can play around with BIOS settings safely. 
Enthusiasts will also find a lot of valuable information as far as 
CPU and memory voltage parameters go. 

We haven't talked about RAID support-all boards 
today support RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and 10, so this data is redundant 
and unnecessary. 



changes (800 MHz vs. 1066 MHz) in spite of the 
slower timings that plague DDR3. 

ASUS' Blitz Formula, P5K Premium, and 
Gigabyte's GA-P35 DS3R were the best performers, 
followed closely by ASUS' P5K Deluxe and Abit's 
IP-35 Pro and MSI's P35 Platinum. We aren't 
really looking at the DDR3 based solutions as 
viable till the cost of DDR3 memory falls off its 
current lofty perch. 

Incidentally, the Abit IP-35 Pro cheats a lit- 
tle by keeping the FSB at a default of 272 MHz, 
and you must manually get it down to 266 MHz 
(which should be the default speed)— this does 



Performance Tests 

Synthetic Tests 

PC Mark 2005: This benchmark runs 48 discrete tests to test each 

performance-related subsystem-the processor, memory, video 

and storage. Finally, it throws out a final score-which is a 

weighted average of the individual results. 

SiSoft Sandra 2007 Engineer: Sandra 2007 has specific 

benchmarks to test all the subsystems of a PC. It tests a CPU's 
floating point crunching ability under both 
arithmetic and multimedia applications. The 
application supports multiple cores and scales well 
in this regard. It also tests the read and write 
performance of the storage subsystem, and the 
memory's bandwidth. 

3D Mark 2005: Our graphics benchmark of 
choice, mainly because it allows for greater variation 

in results than the newer 3D Mark 2006. 

Real World Tests 

Video encoding: This is a CPU-intensive test and tells us exactly 

how optimised the motherboard in question is. 

File transfer test: We copy a single 4 GB file from one physical 
hard disk to another. This tells us a lot about Southbridge data 
path optimisations on each motherboard, and how fast data is 
moving around between hard disks. 

Doom 3 And Splinter Cell Chaos Theory: Doom 3 uses a 
very sensitive engine that even responds to changes in 
memory timings or a hard drive change! Chaos Theory is 
very scalable and very CPU- and shader-intensive. At a 
resolution of 640x480 with all details off, we're basically 
allowing the CPU to run wild while limiting the role of the 
graphics card. At 1600xl200-the maximum settings-any 
game becomes CPU-limited and any increase in frame-rate can 
be attributed to the graphics card and its respective data 
paths on the motherboard. 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



give it a slight edge, as the Core 2 Duo X6800 
runs at 2992 MHz instead of 2933 MHz. 

A surprise was in store when the MSI P35 
Diamond and P35 Platinum came up with very 
good CPU performance in our video encoding 
test, in which a difference of one second is 
huge— especially when you consider the fact 
that all speeds and voltages were kept identical. 

Verdict 

We're impressed by the sheer performance pro- 
vided by ASUS' P5K Premium. The fact that it's 
a superb looker and comes with an excellent 
bundle of connectors and add-ons just ampli- 
fies our decision to award a Digit Best Buy Gold to 
this excellent product. 

Gigabyte's GA-P35-DS3R stuck close to the 
ASUS P5K3 Deluxe (a DDR3-based board) 
throughout the tests and we're awarding these 
two a joint Digit Best Buy Silver. 

Other boards that impress on the perform- 
ance front are the P5K Deluxe and Blitz 
Formula from ASUS, Abit's IP-35 Pro Off Limits 
and Gigabyte's GA-P35-DQ6. 

If you're looking for an enthusiast solution 
that overclocks well and simplifies the process, 
select any of the ASUS boards we've mentioned. 

If you want something a little cheaper, take 
a look at Abit's IP-35 Pro Off Limits, Gigabyte's 
GA-P35DS3R or MSI's P35 Platinum. 

If you're looking for value we suggest either 
MSI's P35 Neo or Abit's IP-35 E Off Limits priced 
at Rs 6,600 and 8,500 respectively. 

We suggest avoiding the cheaper offerings— 
unless you have an absolute shoestring budget 
and must have a P35 chipset based board. 

NVIDIA 6801/6801 LT/6501 SLI 
AND 6501 ULTRA-BASED 
MOTHERBOARDS 

NVIDIA's 680i has been around for a while, but 
it was a path breaking chipset when launched, 
and thanks to some future-proofing on 



J ASUS P5K3 Premium: Is it worth the money? 



Every once in a while, a product comes along that makes us go 
"Ooh, let's give this one a special box, shall we?" Why the 
ASUS P5K3 Premium? Well, for one, it's four times as expensive 
(Rs 70,000) as most of its other (already expensive) siblings! For 
another, it's got this ultra-large and cool-looking heat-pipe 
solution that immediately gets the drool out (before we 
saw the price tag of course)! And then we noticed there 
were no memory banks for RAM...wha...? 
This board comes with 2 GB of DDR3 
memory integrated-and fast 
memory at that (1333 MHz). The 
fact that the memory is integrated, 
and very obviously matched to the 
board means that it performs better 
than external DDR3 RAM running at the 
same speed. ASUS also guarantees that 
this integrated memory will overclock to 
1,500 MHz. It's evident that the memory used 
is top-class, simply because we were able to 
set very tight timings (1333 MHz at 7-6-6-17 at 
1.7 volts), which is pretty incredible considering our 1066 MHz 




NOVEMBER 2007 



NVIDIA's part, it still has the goods to take on 
the P35-based boards. The high-end 680i boards 
are the exclusive domain of the lightning fast 
Core 2 Duo processors from Intel, so you'll see 
no AMD based solutions here. 

The 680i LT is a lower version of the 680i core 
logic, and manages to do without faster memory 
profiles-the 680i is optimised for 1200 MHz SLI- 
ready memory. These platforms support SLI and 

a full 16 PCI Express 

lanes to each 

graphics 

card. 




ASUS Striker Extreme 

The SLI demon 



The 650 
SLI offers 8 lanes 
to each card, while the 
650 Ultra is a single PCI Express. 
The 6xx family from NVIDIA also has 
one very important feature for overclockers— they 
allow for overclocking independent of memory 
dividers. This means you no longer have to both- 
er with maintaining memory to FSB ratios while 
overclocking like you have to with Intel boards. 
This is a boon for those who have cheaper RAM 
but want to overclock their machines. On Intel 
boards, as the FSB speed is bumped up, your 
memory also has to match up to maintain a pre- 
defined ratio— typically 2 : 1 or 3 : 1. For example, 
for an FSB of 266 MHz your memory should be 
capable of running at 800 MHz (266 x 3) if the 
memory divider is set at 3. 

Besides this, the 68O1/LT allows overclockers 
to set memory reference voltages, as well as set 
reference voltages for the Northbridge and 
Southbridge as well as overvolt them (which 
most chipsets provide an option for). 

Features 

ASUS' P5N32-E SLI had perhaps one of the best 



DDR3 ran at 7-7-7-24! 

We got an overall PC Mark score of 8,535 and a memory 
score of 6,112, and at the above mentioned timings we got 

6329-a very good showing. The only demerit is 
that you cannot upgrade memory, which 
remains at 2 GB. If ASUS had come out 
with a 4 GB variant the board would 
probably cost close to a lakh, if not 
more... 

We honestly believe ASUS 
didn't really expect any takers 
for such an expensive 
board. Instead, it's more 
like a statement-"l_ook 
at what we can dor- 
something we've come to expect from 
enthusiast brands. 
This is one indulgence we recommend you miss- 
considering you could build two healthy PCs for the price of this 
board. If you're insanely rich (or just insane) then you'd probably 
discount this bit of advice. 




62 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



looking cooling solutions ever, and also was brilliantly laid 
out. With discrete heat-pipes and sinks for the Northbridge 
and Southbridge, this board looks better than the Striker, 
which has a lot more copper and deviates from a clean look. 

We like copper heat-pipes and heatsinks, but in moder- 
ation, please! Just to prove a point, the P5N32-E SLI also ran 
cooler than all the other 680i and 680i LT boards. In fact, 
despite NVIDIA's 680i Northbridge's reputation for heat, 
this board didn't even break the proverbial sweat! 

The PCBs of the 680i / 680i LT chipset-based boards are ref- 
erence NVIDIA design— in fact, XFX and Galaxy use stock 
NVIDIA PCBs. This is why all the benefits of the reference 680i 
layout are seen along with its demerits. For one, the power 
connector pins on the XFX and Galaxy boards are placed 
between the memory slots— something we complained about 
when we reviewed the 680i as a platform last year. 

Abit's Fatality FP-IN9 SLI bears the "Approved by 
Jonathan 'Fatality' Wendel" mark— but we couldn't find 
anything that stands out about this board— right from its 
layout to the choice of components (read capacitors) to the 
bundle. ASUS' P5N-E SLI uses the Jurassic SLI switch PCB to 
toggle between SLI and single card mode. 

The Zebronics 650 SLI uses a reference NVIDIA PCB- 
which has a less cluttered layout than the heavily feature- 
laden 680i. Galaxy and XFX came up with 650 Ultra 
boards-the 650i LT and MB-N650-IUL9 respectively. These 
boards allow a variety of overclocking and tweaking 
options, and are suitable if you want to stick with a single 
graphics card. 



NVIDIA 680i/650i chipset performance 


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20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240 260 
■ SiSoft 2007 Mem Bandwidth (Float) ■ Doom 3 (FPS) 3D Mark 2005 ■ PC Mark 2005 



Performance 

Although there's no must-have among the 680i/LT and 650 
SLI boards in terms of pure performance, we see the ASUS 
Striker Extreme edging out all the others by a tiny margin. 
Abit's FP-IN9 SLI does very well in the video encoding test, 
and it's a whole four seconds faster than XFX's MB-N680- 
ILT9-very good CPU performance! The ASUS Striker 
Extreme does manage to utilise the Core 2 Duo better when 
it comes to real-world gaming— it was consistently 4 to 5 fps 
ahead of the other boards under both games. 

Verdict 

Let's face it— enthusiasts don't have many reasons to go for 
a 680i-based board, especially considering Intel's latest P35 
and the just-released X38 chipset. The major reason for this 
isn't performance or features— the 680i is both an excellent 
performer and as future-proof as the P35 chipset, which is 
a year newer: it's the price (the P35 is much cheaper). The 
68O1/LT chipset was targeted at enthusiasts who want SLI or 
just an excellent overclocker that allows fine tuning of 
every component. 




indir's FiasramuME bhmce chme 

danceMELA™ is India's 1 st Multiplayer Online Dance 

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you wanna be - take up a fully customizable 3D 

animated AVATAR. Get in style with the most FUNKY 

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PLAY on the keyboard or dare the DANCEPAD. 

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Enjoy in-game shopping wih 
FREE MELA POINTS 

http://dancemela.kreeda.conn/partner/digit/ 



kreedacom 

India's coolest online game tribe 



Digital Tools I Processor and Mo] 



BEST Bl 



tlC 



dTl 



BEST BUY 



d 


Scoreboard ,; 


i£ 


^L. 


NVIDIA 680i / 650i chipset based boards 


Brand 
Model No. 


ASUS 
P5N32-E SLI 


ASUS 

Striker Extreme 


Galaxy 
680i LT SLI 


XFX 
MB-N680-ILT9 


Abit 

Fatality FP-IN9 SLI 

ml $ - ' 


ASUS 
P5N-E SLI 










m 


w 




Chipset 


NVIDIA 680i 


NVIDIA 680i 


NVIDIA 680i LT 


NVIDIA 680i LT 


NVIDIA 650i SLI 


NVIDIA 650i SLI 


Socket 


LGA 775 


LGA 775 


LGA 775 


LGA 775 


LGA 775 


LGA 775 


Northbridge 


680i 


680i 


680i LT 


680i LT 


650i SLI 


650i SLI 


Southbridge 


MCP55 


MCP55 


MCP55 


MCP55 


nForce 430i 


nForce 430i 


Price (Rs) 


13,800 


21,400 


9,200 


11,000 


8,000 


8,280 


+ 


Great cooling solution 


Very fast, great bundle 


Well priced 


Reasonably priced 


Good overclocker 


Good layout, price 




Electrolytic capacitors 


Very expensive 


Skimpy bundle 


Skimpy bundle 


Build Quality 


Ancient SLI switch 


Grand Total (Out Of 100) 


73.03 


74.34 


69.65 


69.16 


69.17 


71.20 


Features (Out Of 50) 


32.48 


34.45 


27.44 


27.89 


26.40 


28.24 


Performance (Out Of 40) 


37.25 


37.76 


37.26 


37.13 


37.07 


37.46 


Price (Out Of 10) 


3.30 


2.13 


4.96 


4.15 


5.70 


5.51 


Features 




Front Side Bus Speed 


1333 MHz 


1333 MHz 


1333 MHz 


1333 MHz 


1333 MHz 


1333 MHz 


Memory Type / Max Freq. Supported 


DDR2/ 1066 MHz 


DDR2/ 1066 MHz 


DDR2/ 1066 MHz 


DDR2/ 1066 MHz 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


Memory Supported / No. Of slots 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


No. Of SATA / PATA Ports 


6/1 


6/1 


6/1 


6/1 


4/2 


4/1 


E-SATA Support / No. Of Ports 


N/NA 


N/NA 


N/NA 


N/NA 


N/NA 


Y/l 


Integrated Graphics (Y / N) 


N 


N 


N 


N 


N 


N 


No. Of PCI / PCI xl / PCI x4 Slots 


2/2/1 


2/2/1 


2/2/0 


2/2/0 


2/2/0 


2/1/0 


Multi GPU Support (SLI / CrossFire / N) 


SLI/X16/X16 


SLI/X16/X16 


SLI / xl6 / xl6 


SLI / xl6 / xl6 


SLI/X8/X8 


SLI / x8 / x8 


Audio Controller / Channels / HD Compliant (Y / N) 


ADI 1988B / 8 / Y 


ADI 1988B / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC888 / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC888 / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC888/8/Y 


Realtek ALC885 / 6 / Y 


S/PDIF/ Optical Port 


Y/Y 


Y/Y 


N/Y 


N/Y 


N/Y 


Y/N 


No Of LAN Ports / Type (10/100 / Gigabit) 


2/G+G 


2/G+G 


2/G+G 


2/G+G 


1/G 


1/G 


Integrated WiFi (Y / N) 


N 


N 


N 


N 


N 


N 


No. Of Rear USB / FireWire Ports 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


All Solid State Capacitors (Y / N) 


N 


Y 


N 


N 


N 


N 


Component Layout (Scale Of 10) 


7.13 


6.92 


6.71 


6.71 


7.08 


6.71 


Overclocking Options 




CPU / FSB / Memory 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Overvolting(CPU/Memory/FSB/PCIe/Northbridge) 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


CPU Voltage Range (Volts) 


UptO 1.9V 


UptO 1.9v 


1.2-1.6V 


1.2-1.6V 


1.325-1.7V 


0.83125-1.6V 


Memory Voltage Range (Volts) 


1.8-2.6V 


1.8-2.6V 


1.8-2.5V 


1.8 ~ 2.5V 


1.8-2.5V 


1.92-2.517V 


Package Bundle 






No Of SATA / PATA Cables 


6/1 


6/1 


3/1 


3/1 


3/1 


3/1 


Software Bundle 


NA 


GRAW, 3D Mark 2006 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


Other Accessories 


SLI Connector 


Cooling Fans, 
USB Bracket 


4 Port USB Bracket 


USB Bracket, SLI 
Connector 


SLI Connector, SLI 
Retention, FireWire 
Bracket 


SLI Connector 


Performance 


PC Mark 2005 




CPU 


7526 


7558 


7521 


7538 


7522 


7522 


Memory / Graphics 


6099 / 12874 


6220 / 12652 


6109 / 12013 


6111 / 11968 


6076 / 12706 


6197 / 12738 


HDD 


7266 


7251 


7290 


7195 


7512 


7033 


Overall 


8516 


8556 


8354 


8362 


8552 


8560 


SiSoft Sandra 2007 






CPU Arithmetic (Dhrystone / Whetstone) 


27093 / 18764 


27084 / 18783 


27012 / 18751 


27012 / 18754 


27169 / 18637 


27158 / 18728 


CPU Multimedia (Integer / Floating) 


161513 / 87931 


161655 / 88038 


161404 / 87870 


161465 / 87901 


161260 / 87743 


161360 / 87882 


Drive Index (MBps) / Random Access Time (ms) 


84 / 8 ms 


86 / 8 ms 


79 / 8 ms 


79 / 8 ms 


70 / 8 ms 


72 / 8 ms 


Memory Bandwidth Score (Integer / Floating) 


5707 / 5725 


5770 / 5789 


5752 / 5769 


5746 / 5771 


5661/5640 


5874 / 5859 


3D Mark 2005 




3D Marks / CPU Score 


16934 / 9691 


17084 / 10192 


16982 / 9989 


16946 / 9942 


16981 / 9510 


17103 / 10214 


Real World Tests 








Video Encoding (DivX 6.2) 100 MB File 


71.97 sec 


70.76 sec 


70.84 sec 


72.53 sec 


68.54 sec 


70.71 sec 


File Transfer - 4 GB File 


52.98 sec 


51.8 sec 


52.25 sec 


53.1 sec 


53.47 sec 


52.35 sec 


Doom 3 (640x480 / 1600x1200, 4xAA, 4xAF) 


237.6 / 118.7 fps 


248.2 / 119.1 fps 


242.1 / 118.3 fps 


243.1 / 119.2 fps 


231.4 / 118.8 fps 


244.4 / 118.6 fps 


Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (640x480 / 1600x1200) 


229.8 / 118.4 fps 


236.2 / 117.9 fps 


232.6 / 117.9 fps 


233.1 / 117.9 fps 


231.4 / 117.2 fps 


234.6 / 118.5 fps 



Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 





Zebronics 
ZEB-6501 SLI 


Galaxy 
6501 LT 


XFX 

MB - N650 - IUL9 


NVIDIA 650i SLI 


NVIDIA 650i Ultra 


NVIDIA 650i Ultra 


LGA 775 


LGA 775 


LGA 775 


650i SLI 


650i Ultra 


650i Ultra 


nForce 430i 


nForce 430i 


nForce 430i 


4,800 


4,800 


5,700 


Well priced 


Well priced 


Good overclocker 


Skimpy bundle 


Skimpy bundle 


Skimpy bundle 


72.36 


71.57 


71.41 


26.70 


24.89 


26.44 


36.16 


37.18 


36.97 


9.50 


9.50 


8.00 




1333 MHz 


1333 MHz 


1333 MHz 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


5/2 


4/1 


4/1 


Y/l 


N/NA 


N/NA 


N 


N 


N 


2/1/0 


3/2/0 


3/2/0 


SLI / x8 / x8 


NA / X16 


NA / X16 


Realtek ALC885/8/Y 


Realtek ALC885/8/Y 


Realtek ALC885/8/Y 


Y/N 


N/N 


N/N 


1/G 


1/G 


1/G 


N 


N 


N 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


N 


N 


N 


6.67 


6.79 


6.79 




Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


1.2-1.510V 


0.83125-1.6V 


0.83125-1.6V 


1.8-2.01V 


1.92-2.517V 


1.92-2.517V 








2/1 


2/1 


4/1 


NA 


NA 


NA 


SLI Connector 


SLI Connector 


SLI Connector, USB 
Bracket 










7518 


7527 


7282 


5686 / 11872 


6078 / 12660 


6082 / 12220 


7438 


7470 


7510 


8400 


8525 


8369 




27043 / 18582 


27071 / 18764 


27182 / 18728 


161185 / 87781 


161557 / 87962 


161206 / 87829 


70 / 8 ms 


70 / 8 ms 


70 / 8 ms 


5126 / 5132 


5793 / 5783 


5728 / 5722 




16508 / 9230 


16880 /9686 


16820 / 9692 




71.4 sec 


69.67 sec 


69.24 sec 


56.2 sec 


53.1 sec 


53.61 sec 


229.5 / 116.4 fps 


236.9 / 119.7 fps 


237.2 / 118.5 fps 



If you want the best SLI solution that won't bottleneck two 8800 GTX 
/ Ultra graphics cards and money isn't an issue, pick up the ASUS Striker 
Extreme for Rs 21,400. There is also a non-extreme version available, 
which is equally good and around Rs 2,500 cheaper. 

If you want a really affordable SLI solution, look at Zebronics' ZEB- 
6501 SLI-at Rs 4,800, you can pick up two 8600 GTs for the amount you'll 
save from the ASUS Striker Extreme! 

If you want a 68O1/LT motherboard for the plethora of overclocking 
options but don't want to spend above Rs 15,000, pick up ASUS' P5N32-E 
SLI or Galaxy's 680i LT SLI for Rs 13,800 and 9,200 respectively. 

Our winners are the excellent 680i-bearing ASUS Striker Extreme 
(Gold) and ASUS P5N32-E SLI (Silver), for their mixture of raw perform- 
ance and overclockability that will deliver the goods to these fraternities. 

INTEL P965-BASED MOTHERBOARDS 

An older chipset, the P965 still is an excellent product but it finds itself 
at the end of its life cycle, and therefore largely redundant with P35- 
based boards costing a few hundreds more. Do remember that the P965 
unofficially supports the 1333 MHz FSB through BIOS updates, so will 
work with the upcoming Penryn processors. The fact that we have seen 
P965 boards running at an FSB of over 1600 MHz (overclocked) means 
that while the P965 platform may be older, toothless it's not! 

Features 

The very term features is synonymous with one board here— the ASUS P5B 
Premium Vista Edition, and about the only grouse we can come up with is 
its extremely long name! A near-perfect layout, detailed BIOS complete 
with superb overclocking options (second only to the ASUS Commando), 
and supreme build quality. But wait... there's also a remote control unit 
that allows you to control several functions including the ability to hiber- 
nate, power down and even play music. Then there's the additional tiny 
LCD screen unit (that looks like a PMP, by the way) that allows you to view 
important pop-ups such RSS feeds and will sync with Web sites when your 
PC is on. All this data can be viewed later even when your PC is off! 

ASUS' Commando is another "Republic of Gamers" product complete 
with extra overclocking options, LED POST display and LED backlit 
power, restart and CMOS reset buttons on the PCB. The P5B Deluxe is a 
feature-rich offering that shares an identical layout (right down to the 
cooler) with the P5B Premium Vista Edition. The P5B-E is a 
lower version of the P5B Deluxe without a wireless access ^^ 
point and minus a few other frills. \ BEST Bl 

MSI's P965 Platinum was the only other feature-rich board in 
this group-the MSI P965 Neo and Biostar Tforce P965 
were the proverbial plain ^ rf 'fN ^^ 

Janes-all the regular fea- H^HOVER 

tures you'd need in 
a motherboard 
without 
the addi- 
tional pizzazz 
that the costlier 
boards show off. 





Performance 

The sheer toppers in 
terms of overall perform- 
ance were the ASUS 
Commando and the P5B Deluxe— no 



ASUS P5B Premium Vista Edition 

Features galore 



230.5 / 116.3 fps 



231.5 / 117.8 fps 



232.2 / 118.1 fps 



wonder these were the kings of the ring before the P35 based mother- 
boards came out— and the performance increments are almost insignifi- 
cant. In fact, all the ASUS boards gave better 3D Mark 2005 scores than the 
other boards in this category, proving that if you want a gaming platform 
based on the P965 chipset, you should consider ASUS. Memory bandwidth 
scores in SiSoft Sandra's test suite are also noticeably higher. 

For some reason, both the MSI boards took a dip in the SiSoft Sandra 
CPU Multimedia tests. The difference isn't alarming and won't be really 
noticeable in day-to-day applications, but these boards aren't the best per- 
formers around. 

DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



65 



iff 



ST BUY 




Scoreboard 



Intel P965 chipset based 



Brand 
Model No. 



Chipset 



ASUS 

P5B Premium Vista 

Edition 



Intel P965 



ASUS 
Commando 



ASUS ASUS 

P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP P5B-E 



Biostar 
Tforce P965 



MSI 
P965 Neo 



Intel P965 



Intel P965 



Intel P965 



Intel P965 



Intel P965 



Socket 



LGA 775 



Northbridge 
Southbridge 



P965 
ICH8R 



P965 
ICH8R 



JP965 
ICH8R 



P965 
ICH8R 



P965 
ICH8R 



P965 
ICH8R 



Price (Rs) 



14,750 



15,870 



12,420 



9,300 



4,400 



5,400 



Very feature rich, fast 



Great overclocker Features, performance Good layout 



Awesome value 



Good value 



Expensive 



Expensive 



Slightly expensive j No solid capacitors ; None in particular 



Slightly slower 



Grand Total (Out Of 100) 



76.53 



75.21 



75.55 



72.22 



71.68 



71.41 



Features (Out Of 43/50*) 
Performance (Out Of 45/37*) 



1 31.95 
41.54 



30.49 
41.90 



30.23 
41.70 



! 26.23 
41.17 



20.30 
41.18 



22.44 
40.66 



Price (Out Of 12/13*) 



3.04 



2.83 



3.61 



4.83 



10.20 



Features 



Front Side Bus Speed 



1066 MHz 



1066 MHz 



1066 MHz 



1066 MHz 



1066 MHz 



1066 MHz 



Memory Type / Max Freq. Supported 



DDR2/ 1066 MHz 



DDR2/ 1066 MHz 



DDR2/ 1066 MHz 



DDR2/ 1066 MHz DDR2/800MHZ 



DDR2/800MHZ 



Memory Supported / No. Of slots 
No. Of SATA / PATA Ports 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 
6/1 



8 GB/ 4 
7/1 



8 GB/ 4 
~6~7l 



8 GB/ 4 

Wi 



8 GB/ 4 

5/1 



E-SATA Support / No Of Ports 



Y/l 



N/NA 



Y/l 



Y/l 



N/NA 



N/NA 



Integrated Graphics (Y / N) 



N 



N 



N 



N 



N 



No. Of PCI / PCI xl / PCI x4 Slots 



3/1/1 



4/1/1 



3/1/1 



3/3/0 



3/1/1 



3/2/0 



Multi GPU Support (SLI / CrossFire / N) 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



Audio Controller / Channels / HD Compliant (Y / N) 
S/ PDIF /Optical Port 



ADI AD1988B/8/Y 
Y/Y 



ADI 1988B/8/Y ADI 1988B/8/Y 

Y/Y Y/Y 



ADI 1988B/8/Y 
Y/Y 



Realtek ALC888/8/Y 
N/N 



Realtek ALC888/8/Y 
N/N 



No Of LAN Ports / Type (10/100 / Gigabit) 



2/G 



2/G 



2/G 



1/G 



1/G 



1/G 



Integrated WiFi (Y / N) 



No. Of Rear USB / FireWire Ports 



4/1 



4/1 



4/1 



4/1 



4/1 



4/1 



All Solid State Capacitors (Y / N) 



Component Layout (Scale Of 10) 
Overclocking Options 



7.00 



7.00 



6.54 



CPU /FSB /Memory 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y 



Overvolting(CPU/Memory/FSB/PCIe/Northbridge) 



Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 



,' Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 



JY/Y/Y/Y/Y 



CPU Voltage Range (Volts) 



1.1-1.6V 



l~1.9v 



l~1.6v 



1.1-1.5V 



+0.025 ~ 0.175V 



Memory Voltage Range (Volts) 



1.9 ~ 2.2v 



Package Bundle 

No Of SATA / PATA Cables 



6/1 



6/1 



6/1 



6/1 



2/1 



3/1 



Software Bundle 



NA 



GRAW, 3D Mark 2006 



Other Accessories 



IR Remote unit, reciev- 
er, Array mic, firewire 
and USB brackets, LCD 
screen 



Cooling Fan (x2), 
Array Mic 



Cooling Fan (x2), Array NA 
Mic 



Performance 



PC Mark 2005 



CPU 



7526 



7592 



7599 



7521 



7268 



Memory / Graphics 



6028 / 11827 



6182 / 12372 



16012/11825 



1 6028 / 11723 



5820 / 11890 



5752 / 12432 



HDD 



7103 



7173 



6961 



Overall 



8264 



SiSoft Sandra 2007 

CPU Arithmetic (Dhrystone / Whetstone) 



26932 / 18722 



27422 / 18720 



26434 / 18552 



26493 / 18293 



26873 / 18607 



26820 / 18636 



CPU Multimedia (Integer / Floating) 



162893 / 88532 



162921 / 88926 



162932 / 88932 



161823 / 88128 



161199 / 87845 



156368 / 87890 



Drive Index (MBps) / Random Access Time (ms) 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



Memory Bandwidth Score (Integer / Floating) 



5573 / 5542 



5587 / 5582 



5583 / 5526 



5582 / 5538 



5447 / 5465 



5323 / 5329 



3D Mark 2005 



3D Marks / CPU Score 
Real World Tests 



17013 / 11032 



17210 / 11161 



17120 / 11193 



16930 / 11029 



16579 / 11128 



16756 / 9934 



Video Encoding (DivX 6.2) 100 MB File 



69.91 sec 



68.94 sec 



69.37 sec 



69.32 sec 



70.5 sec 



File Transfer - 4 GB File 



52.53 sec 



52.83 sec 



52.37 sec 



53.1 sec 



52.98 sec 



53.7 sec 



Doom 3 (640x480 / 1600x1200, 4xAA, 4xAF) 



244.8 / 121.2 fps 



245.2 / 122 fps 



244.2 / 121.5 fps 



239.4 / 120.2 fps 



237.1 / 122.2 fps 



231.2 / 118.9 fps 



Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (640x480 / 1600x1200) 235.2 / 117.6 fps 



235.3 / 117.6 fps 



235.2 / 117.4 fps 



232.8 / 116.9 fps 



230.7 / 117.3 fps 



232.6 / 118.2 fps 



VBESTBUY^ BEST BUY \ BEST B 




Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



el Integrated Graphics solutions 



MSI Gigabyte 

P965 Platinum GA-G33-DS3R 



Gigabyte 
GA-G33M-S2H 




Intel P965 



Intel G33 



Intel G33 



Intel G33 



Intel G31 



Intel G965 



ATI 690G 



LGA 775 



LGA 775 



LGA 775 



LGA 775 



LGA 775 



LGA 775 



LGA 775 



P965 
ICH8R 



G33 
ICH9R 



G33 
ICH9R 



7,400 



9,500 



Good performer 



Very good layout 



G33 
ICH9R 



G31 
ICH7 



G965 
ICH8R 



Radeon xl250 
SB600 



5,950 



6,400 



3,600 



6,300 



7,500 



Good value for money Good overlooking options Extremely affordable Decent performer 



Well laid out 



No solid capacitors Expensive 



None in particular Slighty pricey 



Low on features 



Older solution 



Expensive solution 



75.78 



68.78 



64.09 



63.59 



57.95 



63.12 



60.33 



28.51 
41.20 



32.15 
33.84 



25.85 
33.78 



25.83 
33.62 



17.48 
33.10 



25.23 
33.68 



23.85 
32.94 



1066 MHz 



1333 MHz 



1333 MHz 



1333 MHz 



DDR2/800MHZ 



DDR2/800MHZ 



DDR2/800MHZ 



DDR2/800MHZ 



8 GB/ 4 
6/1 



8 GB/ 4 
6/1 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 

Wl 



1333 MHz 



DDR2/800MHZ 



8 GB/ 4 

471 



DDR2/800MHZ 



N/NA 



Y (Bracket) / 2 



N 



Y, Intel GMA 3100 



8 GB/ 4 
6/1 



1066 MHz 



DDR2/800MHZ 



8 GB/ 4 
4/1 



Y/l 



Y/2 



N/NA 



N/NA 



N/NA 



Y, Intel GMA 3100 



Y, Intel GMA 3100 Y, Intel GMA 3100 Y, Intel GMA 3000 



Y, Radeon xl250 



2/2/1 



3/2/0 



2/1/0 



2/1/0 



3/2/0 



2/1/0 



1/1/0 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



Realtek ALC888/8/Y Realtek ALC889A/8/Y Realtek ALC889A/8/Y Realtek ALC888/8/Y Realtek ALC885/6/Y Realtek ALC888/8/Y Realtek ALC888/8/Y 

Y/Y Y7Y N/Y nTn N/N N/N N/Y 



1/G 



1/G 



1/G 



1/G 



1/G 



4/1 



4/1 



4/1 



6/1 



4/1 



1/G 



1/G 



4/1 



4/1 



6.46 



6.58 



6.25 



7.13 



5.67 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/N 



Y/Y/N 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 



Y/Y/Y/N/N 



Y/Y/Y/N/Y 



N/N/N/N/N 



Y/Y/Y/N/Y 



Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 



+0.025 - 0.175V 



0.5 - 3.25V 



1.0- 1.75v 



1.275 ~ 2.0625V 



1.9 ~ 2.5v 



1.8~3.3v 



1.8-2.5V 



1.8 ~ 3.3v 



NA 



+0.025 - 0.175V 



1.325-1.5V 



1.9 - 2.1v 



1.8-2.5V 



4/1 



3/1 



2/1 



1/1 



2/1 



3/1 



3/1 



HDMI Connect (HDMI as 
DVI supported) 



7269 



7534 



7513 



7414 



7272 



7463 



7102 



5687 / 12562 



5861 / 11908 



5724 / 11932 



5562 / 11844 



5252 / 11324 



5707 / 12539 



6001 / 11729 



6882 



17162 



7120 



7122 



7012 



6987 



7102 



8237 



8280 



8233 



8101 



7681 



8335 



8029 



27025 / 18729 



27029 / 18623 



26928 / 18293 



26126 / 18627 



26232 / 17912 



27019 / 18604 



27019 / 18579 



158392 / 87265 



161543 / 87958 



161478 / 87637 



169191 / 87267 



166292 / 86128 



161140 / 87192 



161053 / 87715 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



78 / 8 ms 



69 / 8 ms 



5478 / 5489 



5595 / 5555 



5584 / 5562 



5456 / 5425 



5235 / 5212 



5113 / 5059 



5061 /5077 



16993 / 10800 



16782 / 11245 



16792 / 11326 



16363 / 11389 



16218 / 11292 



16789 / 10318 



16527 / 9528 



52.2 sec 



56.36 sec 



56.32 sec 



55.43 sec 



55.63 sec 



238.2 / 120.6 fps 234.2 / 121.7 fps 



53.2 sec 



55.29 sec 



237.3 / 122.5 f ps 



235.3 / 120.1 fps 



225.2 / 119.2 fps 



231.5 / 118.1 fps 



229.6 / 116.5 fps 



232.3 / 118.5 fps | 229.4 / 117.2 fps 



226.3 / 117.4 fps 228.2 / 116.5 fps 231.2 / 115.5 fps 233.4 / 118.1 fps 



230.2 / 116.4 fps 



69 



m 



BEST BUY 











R-'iHL 






19 


wj |q 


3 


Scoreboard 


W ° 07 


Brand 
Model No. 


ASUS 

M2A-VM 


ASUS 
M2A-VM HDMI 


Gigabyte 
GA-MA69G-S3H 


MSI K9AGM2 (690G) 




Chipset 


ATI 690V 


ATI 690G 


ATI 690G 


ATI 690G 


Socket 


AM2 


AM2 


AM2 


AM2 


Northbridge 


Radeon xl250 


Radeon xl250 


Radeon xl250 


Radeon xl250 


Southbridge 


SB600 


SB600 


SB600 


SB600 


Price (Rs) 


3,765 


5,225 


6,900 


4,000 


+ 


Great Value 


Good value 


Well built, feature rich 


Superb value for money 


None in particular 


None in particular 


None in particular 


Only2DIMM's 


Grand Total (Out Of 100) 


60.79 


58.77 


63.39 


55.50 


Features (Out Of 50) 


23.38 


23.38 


28.75 


17.55 


Performance (Out Of 37) 


30.36 


30.31 


30.79 


31.31 


Price (Out Of 13) 


7.05 


5.08 


3.85 


6.64 


Features 








Front Side Bus Speed 


1600 /2000 MHz 


1600 /2000 MHz 


1600 /2000 MHz 


1600 /2000 MHz 


Memory Type / Max Freq. Supported 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


Memory Supported / No. Of slots 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


4 GB/ 2 


No. Of SATA / PATA Ports 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


E-SATA Support / No. Of Ports 


N/NA 


N/NA 


Y (Bracket) / 1 


N/NA 


Integrated Graphics (Y / N) 


Y, Radeon xl250 


Y, Radeon xl250 


Y, Radeon xl250 


Y, Radeon xl250 


No. Of PCI / PCI xl / PCI x4 Slots 


2/1/0 


2/1/0 


2/3/1 


2/1/0 


Multi GPU Support (SLI / CrossFire / N) 


N/X16 


N/X16 


N/X16 


N/X16 


Audio Controller / Channels / HD Compliant (Y / N) 


Realtek ALC883 / 6 / Y 


Realtek ALC883 / 6 / Y 


Realtek ALC888 / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC888 / 8 / Y 


S/PDIF/ Optical Port 


N/N 


N/N 


N/Y 


N/N 


No Of LAN Ports / Type (10/100 / Gigabit) 


1/G 


1/G 


1/G 


1/G 


Integrated WiFi(Y/N) 


N 


N 


N 


N 


No. Of Rear USB / FireWire Ports 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


All Solid State Capacitors (Y / N) 


N 


N 


N 


N 


Component Layout (Scale Of 10) 


6.63 


6.63 


6.75 


6.83 


Overclocking Options 


CPU /FSB /Memory 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


N/N/N 


Overvolting (CPU/Memory/FSB/PCIe /Northbridge) 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


N/N/N/N/N 


CPU Voltage Range (Volts) 


0.8-1.55V 


0.8-1.55V 


0.75-1.6V 


NA 


Memory Voltage Range (Volts) 


1.8-2.1V 


1.8-2.1V 


1.8-2.4V 


NA 


Package Bundle 




No Of SATA / PATA Cables 


2/1 


2/1 


4/1 


2/1 


Software Bundle 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


Other Accessories 


NA 


NA 


DVI To HDMI Connector 


NA 


Performance 


PC Mark 2005 


CPU 


6541 


6525 


7522 


7624 


Memory / Graphics 


7723 / 11554 


7723 / 11621 


7828 / 11061 


7507 / 11777 


HDD 


6908 


6832 


6923 


6855 


Overall 


7657 


7603 


7505 


7624 


SiSoft Sandra 2007 






CPU Arithmetic (Dhrystone / Whetstone) 


22746 / 19100 


22727 / 19192 


23279 / 19587 


23184 / 19480 




CPU Multimedia (Integer / Floating) 


59152 / 64886 


59274 / 64829 


60419 / 66410 


60127 / 66137 




Drive Index (MBps) / Random Access Time (ms) 


72 / 8 ms 


72 / 8 ms 


74 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


Memory Bandwidth Score (Integer / Floating) 


8121 / 8072 


7992 / 7983 


8150 / 8102 


8040 / 8005 


3D Mark 2005 




3D Marks / CPU Score 


16455 / 7504 


16562 / 7524 


16339 / 7600 


16653 / 8357 


Real World Tests 






Video Encoding (DivX 6.2) 100 MB File 


82.73 sec 


82.26 sec 


82.55 sec 


82.25 sec 


File Transfer - 4 GB File 


56.34 sec 


56.56 sec 


53.62 sec 


52.74 sec 


Doom 3 (640x480 / 1600x1200, 4xAA, 4xAF) 


189.6 / 117.3 fps 


188.2 / 117.3 fps 


189.1 / 117.8 fps 


199.6 / 117.5 fps 


Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (640x480 / 1600x1200) 


181 / 101.5 fps 


181.2 / 100.3 fps 


182.4 / 103.2 fps 


183.6 / 103.4 fps 



AMD Integrated Graphics solutions 



BEST BUY 



di9it 



MSI 

K9AGM2 (690V) 


ECS AMD690GM-M2 


Jetway 
JM2A692-GDG 


Abit AN-M2HD 


Galaxy AN68M 


Jetway M28GT3-SDG 


Zebronics ZEB-N61M2 


ATI 690G ATI 690G 


ATI 690G 


NVIDIA 7050PV 


NVIDIA 7025 


NVIDIA 7025 


NVIDIA 6100 


AM2 AM2 


AM2 


AM2 


AM2 


AM2 


AM2 


Radeon xl250 Radeon xl250 


Radeon xl250 


GeForce 7050PV 


GeForce 7025 


GeForce 7025 


GeForce 6100 


SB600 


SB600 


SB600 


n Force 630a 


n Force 630a 


n Force 630a 


n Force 410 


3,100 


3,100 


3,950 


5,300 


3,300 


3,950 


2,150 


Very good deal 


Well priced 


Well priced 


Good performer 


Good value for money 


Decent overclocking options 


Good value for money 


Only 2 DIMM's Only 2 DIMM's 


Less expansion options 


Slightly costly 


Only 2 DIMM's 


Overpriced 


Older solution 


57.21 


58.45 


58.77 


60.31 


58.93 


57.41 


62.32 


17.55 


19.38 


21.38 


24.39 


20.44 


20.34 


19.55 


31.09 


30.51 


30.68 


30.91 


30.45 


30.35 


30.42 


8.57 8.57 


6.72 


5.01 


8.05 


6.72 


12.35 




1600 /2000 MHz 


1600 /2000 MHz 


1600 /2000 MHz 


1600 /2000 MHz 


1600 /2000 MHz 


1600 /2000 MHz 


1600 /2000 MHz 


DDR2 / 800 MHz 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


DDR2/800MHZ 


4 GB/ 2 


4 GB/ 2 


8 GB/ 4 


8 GB/ 4 


4 GB/ 2 


8GB/ 4 


4 GB/ 2 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


2/1 


N/NA 


N/NA 


N/NA 


N/NA 


N/NA 


N/NA 


N/NA 


Y, Radeon xl250 


Y, Radeon xl250 


Y, Radeon xl250 


Y, GeForce 7050PV 


Y, GeForce 7025 


Y, GeForce 7025 


Y, GeForce 6100 


2/1/0 


2/1/0 


2/0/0 


2/1/0 


2/1/0 


2/0/0 


2/0/0 


N/X16 


N/X16 


N/X16 


N/X16 


N/X16 


N/X16 


N/X16 


Realtek ALC888 / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC861 / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC861 / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC861 / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC861 / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC861 / 8 / Y 


Realtek ALC861 / 8 / Y 


N/N N/N 


N/N 


N/Y 


N/N 


N/N 


N/N 


1/G 1/G 


1/G 


1/G 


1/G 


1/G 


1/G 


N N 


N 


N 


N 


N 


N 


4/1 4/1 


4/1 


4/1 


6/1 


4/1 


4/1 


N 'N 


N 


N 


N 


N 


N 


6.83 5.38 


6.96 


6.71 


6.58 


6.58 


6.08 




N/N/N Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


Y/Y/Y 


N/N/N/N/N Y/Y/Y/N/N 


Y/Y/N/N/N 


Y/Y/N/N/N 


Y/Y/N/N/N 


Y/Y/N/N/N 


Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 


NA +0.0125 ~ 0.05V 


1.4-2.0V 


1.4-2.0V 


1.4-2.0V 


1.4-2.0V 


+0.025-0.375V 


NA +0.05V ~ 0.15V 


1.75-2.55V 


1.75-2.55V 


1.75-2.55V 


1.75-2.55V 


+0.05 ~ 0.35V 












2/1 |2/1 


2/1 


2/1 


2/1 


1/1 


1/1 


NA NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA :na 


NA 


DVI to HDMI converter, 
extension cable 


NA 


NA 


NA 






7621 6539 


6571 


6529 


6334 


6524 


6579 


7575 / 11541 6373 / 11634 


7849 / 11624 


7892 / 11898 


7232 / 11216 


7712 / 11237 


6583 / 11254 


6914 6890 


6903 


7041 


7020 


7122 


7028 


7500 7592 


7635 


7820 


7023 


7182 


7694 






23120 / 19572 23243 / 19616 


23346 / 19724 


23171 / 19477 


23102 / 19248 


22992 / 19192 


23310 / 19715 


60129 / 66162 j 60319 / 66350 


60602 / 66676 


60158 / 66137 


60824 / 66032 


60193 / 66272 


60507 / 66577 


78 / 8 ms 78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


72 / 8 ms 


8025 / 7980 7427 / 7420 


7562 / 7524 


7762 / 7692 


7663 / 7529 


7632 / 7532 


7412 / 7362 






16235 / 8271 16573 / 7601 


16482 / 7974 


16317 / 7435 


16389 / 7837 


16243 / 7332 


16618 / 8116 












82.32 sec 


82.35 sec 


82.28 sec 


82.25 sec 


82.12 sec 


82.34 sec 


83.21 sec 


52.3 sec 


52.4 sec 


55.04 sec 


54.85 sec 


54.24 sec 


54.37 sec 


55.23 sec 


192.2 . 117.3 fps 189.2 / 117.2 fps 


192.2 / 117.6 fps 


193.2 / 117.2 fps 


195.3 / 118.2 fps 


191.1 / 116.2 fps 


194.1 / 118.5 fps 


181.9 / 102.7 fps 182.2 / 103.1 fps 


181.2 / 101.3 fps 


193.4 / 108.5 fps 


191.2 / 101.4 fps 


188.3 / 100.2 fps 


181.3 / 99.2 fps 



Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 



Scoreboard 



Intel P35 Chipset Based 



Ybestbu 



di9it 



if 



EST BUY 



Brand 
Model No. 



Abit Abit 

IP-35 Pro Off Limits IP-35 E Off Limits 




ASUS ASUS 

P5K3 Deluxe WiFi-AP Blitz Extreme 



ASUS 

P5K Premium 



ASUS 

P5K Deluxe WiFi-AP 




Chipset 



Intel P35 



Intel P35 



Intel P35 



Intel P35 



Socket 



LGA 775 



LGA 775 



Northbridge 



P35 



South bridge 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



Price (Rs) 



13,500 

Great for enthusiasts 
j Expensive 



8,500 17,100 19,550 

Decent value overclocker Well laid out, feature rich Very fast 
No solid capacitors Expensive DDR3 is costly 



15,870 
Feature Rich 
Expensive 



14,750 
Feature Rich 
Expensive 



Grand Total (Out Of 100) 



71.62 



65.31 



74.64 



73.98 



74.73 



74.32 



Features (Out Of 50) 



23.63 



35.05 



34.65 



34.55 



34.50 



Performance (Out Of 40) 



36.84 



36.43 



37.04 



36.80 



Price (Out Of 10) 
Features 

Front Side Bus Speed 



3.31 



1333 MHz 



5.25 



1333 MHz 



1333 MHz 



2.28 



1333 MHz 



1333 MHz 



3.03 



1333 MHz 



Memory Type / Max Freq. Supported 



DDR2 / 1066 MHz I DDR2 / 1066 MHz 



DDR3/ 1333 MHz 



DDR3/ 1333 MHz DDR2/ 1066 MHz 



DDR2 / 1066 MHz 



Memory Supported / No. Of slots 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



NO. Of SATA / PATA Ports 



6/1 



4/1 



6/1 



6/1 



6/1 



6/1 



E-SATA Support / No. Of Ports 
Integrated Graphics (Y / N) 
No. Of PCI / PCI xl / PCI x4 Slots 



Y/2 

N 

3/1/1 



N/0 

N 

3/2/0 



Y/2 

N 

3/2/0 



N/NA 

N 

2/3/0 



Y/2 

N 

3/2/1 



Y/2 

N 

3/2/1 



Multi GPU Support (SLI / CrossFire / N) 



CF / xl6 / x4 



N/xl6 



CF / X16 / x4 



CF / X16 / x4 



CF / X16 / x4 



CF / X16 / x4 



Audio Controller / Channels / HD Compliant (Y / N) Realtek ALC888/8/Y Realtek ALC888/8/Y 



ADI AD1988B / 8 / Y ADI AD1988B / 8 / Y ADI AD1988B / 8 / Y 



ADI AD1988B / 8 / Y 



S/PDIF/ Optical Port 



N / Y (in & out) 



N/Y 



Y/Y 



Y/Y 



Y/Y 



Y/Y 



No Of LAN Ports / Type (10/100 / Gigabit) 

Integrated WiFi (Y / N) 

No. Of Rear USB / FireWire Ports 



2 / G+10 / 100 

N 

4 / 1 (on addon card) 



l/G 

N 

4/N 



2/G+G 

Y 

6/1 



2/G+G 
N 
"671 



2/G+G 
Y 
"671 



2/G+G 
Y 
T/l 



All Solid State Capacitors (Y / N) 



N 



Component Layout (Scale Of 10) 



6.58 



6.50 



Overclocking Options 



CPU /FSB /Memory 

Overvolting(CPU/Memory/FSB/PCIe/Northbridge) 
CPU Voltage Range (Volts) 



Y/Y/Y Y/Y/Y Y/Y/Y Y/Y/Y 

|y/Y/Y/Y/Y |y/Y/Y/Y/Y jY/Y/Y/Y/Y Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 

i 1.3250 ~ 1.8950V 1.3250 ~ 1.8950V 1.2~1.7v 1.00~1.9v 



Y/Y/Y 

Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 

1.2-1.7V 



Y/Y/Y 

Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 

1.2-1.7V 



Memory Voltage Range (Volts) 



1.800 - 3.000V 



1.800 - 3.000V 



1.3~2.3v 



1.5~3.0v 



.8~2.5v 



1.8-2.5V 



Package Bundle 



No Of SATA / PATA Cables 



6/1 



3/1 



6/1 



6/1 



3/1 



6/1 



Software Bundle 



Other Accessories 



FireWire and USB 
bracket 



Cooling Fan (x2) 



3D Mark 2006 + , NA 
S.T.A.L.K.E.R game 
Liquid cooling kit 
pipes and connects, 
LCD Poster 



Cooling Fan (x2) 



Cooling Fan (x2) 



Performance 



PC Mark 2005: 

CPU 

Memory / Graphics 



7612 

5824 / 12673 



7261 

5829 / 12582 



7410 

6000 / 12103 



7523 

5957 / 12647 



17637 
5995 / 12719 



7546 

5901 / 12525 



HDD 



7101 



Overall 



8582 



SiSoft Sandra 2007: 



CPU Arithmetic (Dhrystone / Whetstone) 27670 / 19183 27930 / 19128 27157 / 18679 27100 / 18796 27010 / 18806 

CPU Multimedia (Integer / Floating) 164838 / 89455 162102 / 88192 ' 162020/ 88290 161927 / 88168 162082 / 88161 

Drive Index (MBps) / Random Access Time (ms) 79 /8 ms 78 /8 ms J79 / 8 ms | 78 /8 ms 1 78 / 8 ms 



27109 / 18825 
163204 / 88351 
78 / 8 ms 



Memory Bandwidth Score (Integer/ Floating) 



5710 / 5731 



5682 / 5638 



5739 / 5982 



5666 / 5681 



5676 / 5692 



5683 / 5667 



3D Mark 2005: 



3D Marks / CPU Score 



17105 / 10725 



17292 / 10812 



17030 / 11572 



16985 / 11368 



17036 / 10936 



17035 / 10818 



Real World Tests 

Video Encoding (DivX 6.2) 100 MB File 
File Transfer -4 GB File 



68.53 sec 
56.37 sec 



69.2 sec 
58.2 sec 



70.24 sec 
51.24 sec 



71.1 sec 
52.12 sec 



68.21 sec 
50.98 sec 



71.2 sec 
51.93 sec 



Doom 3 (640x480 / 1600x1200, 4xAA, 4xAF) 



236.7 / 121.6 fps j 233.2 / 119.2 fps 



243.6 / 120.1 fps 



244.9 / 122.4 fps 



247.2 / 129.8 f ps 



243.5 / 121.5 



Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (640x480 / 1600x1200) 234.4 / 118.1 fps | 229.2 / 116.8 fps 



1232.1/ 116.3 fps 



232.4 / 117.3 fps 



236.2 / 117.9 fps 



227.2 / 115 fps 



^ttJ-ttC Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 




ASUS Biostar 

BLITZ Formula TP35D2-A7 




ECS 
P 35T-A 



Gigabyte Gigabyte MSI 

GA-P35 - DS3R GA-P35 - DQ6 P35-Neo 




MSI 
P35-Diamond 



MSI 
P35-Platinum 





Intel P35 



Intel P35 



Intel P35 



Intel P35 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



ICH9R 



17,250 

Overclockers delight 
Very expensive 



4,700 5,475 

Extreme value Well priced 

Low on features Low on features 



12,000 15,500 

Good high-end option Status symbol 
Expensive Bulky heatpipe solution 



6,600 

Affordable P35 platform 

Doesn't overclock well 



14,500 

Loads of features 

Expensive 



10,200 

Good performer 

None in particular 



74.24 



69.48 



69.51 



74.56 



73.04 



67.03 



70.80 



71.30 



34.65 



37.00 



36.50 



36.60 



37.14 



36.53 



36.50 



36.86 



36.66 



2.59 



1333 MHz 



9.50 



1333 MHz 



8.16 



3.72 



1333 MHz 



1333 MHz 



6.77 



1333 MHz 



3.08 



4.38 



DDR2 / 1066 MHz 



DDR2/800MHZ 



DDR2/800MHZ 



DDR2/ 1066 MHz 



DDR2/ 1066 MHz DDR2/ 1066 MHz 



DDR3/ 1066 MHz 



DDR2/800MHZ 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



8 GB/ 4 



3/1 



4/1 



6/1 



S/l 



5/1 



4/1 



5/1 



5/1 



N/NA 

N 

2/3/1 



N/NA 

N 

3/1/1 



Y/l 

N 

3/1/1 



Y (bracket) / 1 

N 

3/3/0 



Y (bracket) / 1 

N 

2/2/1 



N/NA 

N 

2/3/0 



Y/2 

N 

2/2/1 



Y/2 

N 

2/2/1 



CF / xl6 / x4 



N/X16 



N/X16 



N/X16 



CF / xl6 / x4 



N/X16 



CF / X16 / x4 



CF / X16 / x4 



ADI AD1988B / 8 / Y Realtek ALC888/8/Y Realtek ALC888 /8/Y Realtek ALC889 /8/Y 



Realtek ALC889A/8/Y 



Realtek ALC888 /8/Y 



Realtek ALC888T/8/Y 



Realtek ALC888/8/Y 



Y/Y 



N/N 



N/N 



Y/Y 



Y/Y 



N/N 



N/Y 



N/Y 



2/G+G 
N 
"671 



1/G 

N 
6/1 



1/G 

N 

6/1 



1/G 

N 
4/1 



1/G 

N 
4/1 



1/G 

N 

4/1 



1/G 

N 

6/1 



1/G 

N 

6/1 



N 



N 



N 



Y/Y/Y 

Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 

1.00-1.9V 



Y/Y/Y 
Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 
uptO + 0.787 



Y/Y/Y 

Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 

1.M.6V 



Y/Y/Y 
Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 
0.5- 3.25V 



Y/Y/Y 
JY/Y/Y/Y/Y 
1.8-3.3V 



Y/Y/Y 

Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 

1.525-2.3125 



Y/Y/Y 

Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 

1.525-2.3125 



Y/Y/Y 

Y/Y/Y/Y/Y 

1.525-2.3125 



1.8-3.4V 



2 - 2.6v 



1.85-2.4V 



1.8-3.3V 



1.8-3.3V 



1.8-3.3 



1.8-3.3 



L.8-3.3 



S/l 



2/1 



1/1 



6/1 



6/1 



1/1 



3/1 



3/1 



3D Mark 2006 + 
S.T.A.L.K.E.R game 
Liquid cooling kit 
pipes and connects, 
LCD Poster 



E-SATA Power Cables 



E-SATA Power Cables 



56.6 Fax Modem, USB USB & FireWire 
& FireWire Brackets Brackets 









7536 


7521 


7508 


7522 


7528 


7512 


7093 


7012 


6008 / 11918 


5820 / 11890 


5843 / 12515 


5905 / 12520 


5933 / 11900 


5762 / 12473 


5868 / 12974 


5728 / 12823 


7158 


7194 


7171 


7170 


7153 


7160 


7200 


7152 


8417 


8302 


8518 


8412 


8358 


8458 


8238 


8199 






27071 / 18772 


26873 / 18607 


27156 / 18566 


27159 / 18843 


27035 / 18542 


27149 / 18796 


25804 / 18712 


25263 / 18383 


162632 / 88103 


161199 / 87845 


161350 / 87312 


162646 / 87868 


161287 / 87638 


161937 / 87253 


150760 / 87737 


151283 / 87923 


79 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


78 / 8 ms 


5682 / 5693 


5447 / 5465 


5419 / 5372 


5753 / 5736 


5682 / 5673 


5285 / 5292 


5537 / 5539 


5427 / 5425 


















16959 / 11085 


16579 / 11128 


17017 / 10242 


17078 / 11281 


16932 / 11187 


16965 / 11044 


17313 / 10785 


17342 / 10562 






70.5 sec 


70.5 sec 


69.3 sec 


69.3 sec 


70.84 sec 


70.2 sec 


67.48 sec 


67.22 sec 


50.46 sec 


52.98 sec 


54.25 sec 


53.64 sec 


56.32 sec 


55.25 sec 


52.82 sec 


52.25 sec 


243.1 / 122.3 fps 


237.1 / 122.2 


245.7 / 123.8 f ps 


249 / 123.7 fps 


240.7 / 122.8 fps 


237.5 / 122.3 fps 


239.9 / 128.9 fps 


237.2 / 126.2 fps 


234.4 / 117.3 fps 


230.7 / 117.3 fps 


229.9 / 118.1 fps 


240 / 118 fps 


233.2 / 117.3 fps 


228.6 / 117.3 fps 


232.1 / 123.2 fps 


234.2 / 123.4 fps 



Digital Tools I Processor and Motherboard Test 




Verdict 

When we think Gold, we think outstanding prod- 
uct. Going by this principle, it'd be easy to see why 
ASUS' P5B Premium Vista Edition gets top hon- 
ours. At Rs 14,750, it's not for everyone, 
though. That's where our Silver 
winner comes in. At Rs 
7400-the MSI 
P965 Platinum 
offers good 
features and 
build quality, 
and enough over- 
clocking features to 
justify the price tag. 

We don't really recom- 
mend spending on a P965 
board unless you must have the show-off fea- 
tures that the P5B Premium Vista Edition 
sports. Although this is an excellent chipset, it 
has been replaced in Intel's product line-up by 
the P35— a product that, while not markedly 
better, is definitely more future-proof. 

INTEGRATED GRAPHICS 
PLATFORMS 

This category will be important for most— who 
needs a graphics card when you don't intend on 
gaming or doing a lot of HD movie-watching, 
right? We see boards for both Intel and AMD 
processors here. The players in this arena are 
more interested in the volume game, and such 
boards tend to be focused towards value for 
money rather than features, performance and 
overclocking— with a few exceptions, of course. 
We've got boards based on Intel's latest G33 
and G31 platforms, the older G965 platform 
and ATI's proven 690G. Newcomers were 
NVIDIA's GeForce 7050 and 7025-two very 
interesting platforms— and, of course, the older 
GeForce 6100 platform. 

INTEL-BASED 

Features 

Gigabyte's GA-G33-DS3R is a very well-built and 
attractive looking board. Even better, we liked 
the compact (Micro ATX) design on the GA- 
G33M-S2H. This board also has an HDMI port. 
Gigabyte has also included Realtek's latest 
ALC889A codec-based sound solution— the suc- 
cessor the de facto ALC888 codec. It's easy to see 
the former being pitched as a high-end product 
with integrated graphics, while the latter— with 
its reduced BIOS options— gives lesser expand- 
ability and smaller size being a home-entertain- 
ment product (hence the HDMI). 



\best 



BUY 



MR 

NOVEMBER 2007 



W 

Gigabyte GA-G33-DS3R 

The best Intel onboard- 
graphics platform 



| Contact Sheet 



Abit Tirupati Enterprises 
ASUS ASUS Technology Pv t. Ltd. ~ 
Biostar Abacus Peripherals Pvt. Ltd. 
ECS SES Technologies Limited 
Galaxy Te chnology And Gadgets 
Gigabyte Gigabyte Technology India Ltd 
Jetway Jetway Information Co. Ltd / 
Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd 



Motherboards 



www.abacusperipherals.com 



abhishek@tirupati.net www.tirupati.net 

mediajndia@asus.com http://in.asus.com 
ajain@abacusperipherals.com 

poonam.sharma@sesindia.com www.sesindia.com 

sales@technologyandgadgets.com www.technologyandgadgets.com 

sales@gigabyte.in www.gigabyte.com.tw 



amitp@rptechindia.com 



MSI Micro-Star International san yam@msi-india. com 

XFX Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd ami tp@rptechindia. com 

Zebronics (Zebronics) TopNotch Infotronix enquiry@zebronics.info 



www.jetway.com.tw/jetway/ 

www.rptechindia.com / 

www.msi-india.com 

www.rptechindia.com 

www.zebronics.net 



ECS' P33T-A board was an anomaly. While all 
the G33 and G31 boards are mated to the ICH9 
Southbridge, this motherboard had an older 
ICH7 Southbridge— the same one on the much 
older 975X platform— a very negative move. 

Abit's Fatality F-190HD is another HDMI port- 
sporting board based around (surprise, surprise) 
ATI's 690G platform— which is basically a combi- 
nation of Radeon xl250 graphics and an SB600 
Southbridge. We figure this board is part of an 
endangered species— what with ATI having been 
taken over by AMD— which is a pity, simply 
because choice breeds competition, and Intel 
and NVIDIA have run out of the latter as far as 
platforms for Intel processors go. This board, 
despite bearing the "Fatality" moniker, fails to 
impress as a hardcore enthusiast product. 

Performance 

To be honest, there's very little variety in the 
performance of the Intel-based mother- 
boards-with the exception of the ECS P33T-A, 
though to be honest, with a Southbridge that 
is two generations old we expected this board 
to lag behind— particularly in the storage 
based tests. Surprisingly, it lagged in the 
graphics and gaming tests! 

Both the Gigabyte boards do prove their 
mettle here, and both the MSI boards keep 
them close company. 

Verdict 

If you want an Intel-based solution, consider the 
duo from Gigabyte-the GA-G33-DS3R, (Rs 9,500) 
if you want something fast and feature rich and 
the GA-G33M-S2H, (Rs 5,950) if you're looking for 
unbeatable value and HDMI thrown into the 
kitty. Both these boards are very different beasts 
despite being from the same stable— the former 
is an enthusiast solution with greater overclock- 
ability, solid state capacitors and an ATX form 
factor and the latter is more for the cinema buff. 
These two steal our Gold and Silver awards— the 
GA-G33-DS3R placing first and its cheaper sibling 
placing second. 

AMD-BASED 

Features 

ASUS had two offerings-M2A-VM and M2A-VM 
HDMI. These are basically the same board with 
one difference— the presence of an HDMI port. 
Abit's AN-M2HD was a nice offering— micro ATX, 
a full 4 memory banks, HDMI, and a display solu- 
tion that supports NVIDIA PureVideo. 

Zebronics' ZEB-N61M2 was the old timer in 
this category— the GeForce 6100 is an older 
Northbridge, and the nForce 410 Southbridge has 
been around for some time as well. 

Performance 

The MSI K9AGM2 (690G) performs quite 
superbly, taking our X2 6400+ within striking 
distance of the newer X6800 (although a slight 
clock advantage is retained by the AMD part). 
In fact, one look at our CPU scores— especially 
under PC Mark 2005-will testify to the 
Gigabyte and MSI boards simply blowing away 
the other 690G based boards. 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Although NVIDIA's 7050 / 7025-based boards trail 
behind, we won't be too critical— simply because these 
chipsets are really new, and we newer drivers should opti- 
mise things for better performance. The Abit AN-M2HD 
and the Galaxy AN68M boards were the only ones to cross 
the 190 fps mark. 

Verdict 

With everyone jumping on the Core 2 Duo bandwagon, it 
seems AMD is left out in the cold for now. However, we've 
seen a few solid platforms for AMD processors, and these do 
make viable solutions for those looking for a powerful mul- 
timedia or Home Entertainment PC. If you're looking for 
value, it's hard to ignore the Galaxy AN68M. A spanking 
new chipset that promises a lot, decent layout and expand- 
ability, HDMI connectivity (for home-cinema buffs)— all this 
at an unbelievable price of Rs 3,300! If you want something 
with a little more punch, we recommend the MSI K9AGM2 
(690G)— priced a little higher at Rs 4,000. It's got support for 
8 GB of memory on 4 DIMM's, and HDMI. 

Gigabyte's GA GA-MA69G-S3H is our w 
Gold winner for AMD's processors— a great 
combination of features and performance. 
The Zebronics ZEB-N61M2 steals silver main- 
ly because of its unbeatable pric- 
ing-Rs 2,150. 



BEST BUY 

ma 



NOVEMBER 2007 




Gigabyte GA-MA69G-S3H 

The best 690G chipset- 
based board 



In Retrospect 

Going by the steady increase in the number of players (and 
the number of products), our markets are teeming with 
options for various kinds of solutions. The enthusiast 
options— motherboards that come with everything— at 
a price. 

Then there are those products aimed at prosumers— 
who are less discerning than enthusiasts. Home Cinema 
buffs will also find something from among our plethora 
of options. 

Just when you think, "Hey— couldn't get much better, 
right?" something new comes out! Intel's new Penryn 
processors are about to enter the consumer space— and a 
whole new platform (Intel's X38) with support for an FSB 
speed of 1600 MHz among a host of other goodies! 

NVIDIA has promised a successor to their 680i chipset, 
we don't even know whether it'll be called the 780i or 
something else, but we're as excited as the next guy! 
We've already seen the still shiny P35 become a reliable, 
powerful platform. 

Then there's the AgenaFX / Agena from AMD— the desk- 
top spin off from their workstation processor Barcelona. 
New processor equals new platform. So much for 2008! 

2009 should see the advent of native six- and eight-core 
processors in the form of AMD's Sandtiger and Intel's 
Nehalem— both of which should make today's quad-cores 
look prehistoric. S 

sanket_naik@thinkdigit.com 
michael_browne@thinkdigit.com 




Digital Tools I Do It Yourself 



Mash 'em up 



We got tired of looking at different sites each day, so we brought all of them together 



Bhaskar Sarma 



Mash-ups seem to be the latest fad 
in the crazy world of Web 2.0— 
people don't want to go all over 
the Internet for their daily stuff; they 
want it in one place. Mash-ups are also 
increasingly used by businesses to 
manage data and information on their 
sites. If you thought a mash-up needed a 
large team to develop and maintain, you 
couldn't be farther from the truth. With 
a little patience and a clear head, you can 
build a mash-up in a jiffy. 

You'll need a Web site of your own. 
You could also create a mash-up on your 
iGoogle page or use a site like Netvibes 
(www.netvibes.com). IBM has a QEDWiki 
for primarily business users, while 
Microsoft's Popfly lets you build a stun- 
ning mash-up on its SilverLight plat- 
form. We'll go with a Blogger page 
(www.blogger.com)— most people have a 
blog of their own now, and Blogger' s 
new Customize feature has layout ele- 
ments for a wide variety of sources like 
HTML / JavaScript, RSS feeds, pictures, 
videos and more. No more editing 
HTML—just drag and drop! 

Getting Started 

We start with a blank Blogger page (you 
should be logged in to Blogger). Choose 
a template with a wide sidebar— you 
don't want your apps to spill over the 
boundary of the page. The Customize 
link at the top right will take you to the 
Edit Layout page— click on Add a Page 
Element and you'll get a pop-up with 
options to add polls, pictures, 
HTML/JavaScript, feeds, logos, a video 
bar, and more. You can edit the HTML 
of the page —or do it the easier way. 

Choose from Google Gadgets 
(www.google.com/ig/directory?synd=open)— 
they have an astonishing variety of 
gadgets tailored for almost everything. 
Inserting them into your page is simple 
enough— copy a line of HTML and paste 
it in Blogger' s element holder for HTML 
/ JavaScript. Many of these Gadgets— 
especially those with eye candy— need 
Flash to work; install the free Flash 
player from www.adobe.com/products/ 
flashplayer/ if you don't have it. 

The First Gadget 

Adding social networking sites— espe- 
cially Facebook and Orkut— to your blog 
is now a breeze. If you're a Facebook 
junkie, this is for you— a search on the 
directory will bring up Facebook apps 



that let you check your account from 
within your Blogger page. Select the 
gadget and click on Add to your web- 
page. You'll get a snapshot of your 
gadget, with some minor settings like 
size adjustments and colour schemes. 
Play around with them till you're satis- 
fied. Other settings are specific to the 
gadget— in this case, you have options for 
what to keep in your Facebook gadget. 



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The settings for a typical Google Gadget 

Once you've made your choice, click on 
Get the Code at the bottom. A line of 
HTML code appears, which you copy and 
paste into the HTML /JavaScript element 
holder. Simple. 

More Gadgets 

After putting in the first 
gadget, you should be 
raring to go. For the rest, ^ 
here are our recommen 
dations: 

Orkut: Access to Orkut 
is quite easy from 
your page, espe- 
cially a Google 



Get Orkut on your page 



site like Blogger. There are no sign-in 
hassles, and your Orkut profile with full- 
blown functionality is enabled with this 
nifty gadget. 

IM: Access to IMs (Gtalk, Yahoo! Mes- 
senger, MSN Messenger, and more) is 
quite easy with gadgets available. The 
Yahoo! Messenger gadget is 
** nothing special, but Google Talk 
^ ^ was like the real thing. Tabbed 
conversations, smileys, the 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




Digital Tools I Do It Yourself 



Do 


fou are noi currently logged into Google Talk. 
SU|ii In 

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signing up is easy! 

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Chat from inside your Web site 



ability to hold group chats, calling up 
contacts— you get all the goodies. 
Visitor Map: Find out where your visi- 
tors come from, on a Google map. The 
map uses an API from Clicky (www. 
getclicky.com), a Web analytics service. To 



j Map | Satellite I Hybrid | 




Gatiflets powere d byOpftj 



Check your visitor's locations 

use this gadget, register your site at 
Clicky, then go to the Google Gadgets 
page and get the HTML code. There is a 
slight bug here— till Clicky gets enough 
visitor statistics, the map shows the 
default image. 

For lighting up the mood, we put 
in the English to Yoda speak converter 
(we love Star Wars, and we love the 
little Jedi master most). Type in any 
English sentence— "Work is a pain in 
the neck"— and a few seconds later, up 
pops up, in Yoda speak: "Pain in the 
neck work is. Yes, hmmm". (A swear 
word elicits a scolding.) 
Google Maps: Inserting maps, even if 
you have no experience with code, is very 
easy with Google maps. To create a 
custom map, you need to go to Google 
Maps, select My Maps, click on Create 
New Map and start dragging placeholders 
and drawing lines and shapes on your 
map. When you're done, click on Link 
To This Page at the top right of the 
map, and get the HTML code. 
Flickr Zeitgeist: This is a small widget 
to display your photos from Flickr, if you 
have any uploaded there. Visit 



www.flickr.com/fun/ Zeitgeist/ to get your 
HTML code. 

Of course, you don't have to settle 
for what's already there... 

Your Own Gadget 

Making your own Google gadget is sur- 
prisingly easy— you just need to have an 
idea of what are you going to "gadgetise," 
and a few clicks later, you've got yourself 
a brand new gadget. As we've mentioned 
later, you won't immediately be allowed 
to put your gadget on your Blogger page, 
but it's a start. 

Start with a site whose contents you 
want to see in the gadget— we chose 
www.thinkdigit.com. Open www.dapper.net, 
a site that allows you to take content off 
any page and transform it into a variety 
of formats like XML, RSS feeds, Google 
Gadgets, Netvibes Modules, etc. Choose 
Google gadgets. 

When you put in www.thinkdigit.com 
in the address bar, Dapper opens a frame 
with the site in it. Navigate to the Game 
On section under Digital Leisure. Click on 
Add to Basket to add this section to 
your gadget. 

Choose the fields using the Select 
arrow at the top. The fields that will go 
in your Dapp are highlighted in yellow. 
This is a bit tricky, as the yellow patches 
have a way of getting on unwanted con- 
tent like ads or links. If you don't select 



Click Next to view the content that 
has been selected. Here, we've got a list 
of the games that have been reviewed in 
the magazine. This list will now be 
updated when the site is. 



- Preview 






Game reviews 






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Game review: Need for soeed iJsntianr 20061 




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Home Add a tab 



iGoogle 



Game reviews 



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with Dapper) will be worthless. Give a 
common name to your group of con- 
tent—we selected "Game Reviews." 



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Your selected content, in a list 



Your gadget, on your iGoogle page 

The final step is saving your 
Dapp— name, describe and tag it, 
then click Save. If you're unsure 
of whether your Dapp works 
right, check the This is a test 
Dapp box— the Dapp will be 
deleted within 24 hours. Alterna- 
tively, if you don't want your Dapp 
published in Dapper's directory, 
check the Make Private option. 
After hitting Save, you'll get to 
make some final settings, and also 
preview your gadget. You can add 
it to your iGoogle page, or publish 
it in the iGoogle directory. 

Only if (and this is a big if) your 
gadget gets listed in the Google 
directory will you be able to add it to your 
Blogger page. Google takes its own time, 
so it's best to remain content with adding 
the gadget to your iGoogle page. 

Conclusion 

There you go: a basic guide to making 
your own Web 2.0 mash-up, with a mini 
primer on Google Gadgets. Go ahead and 
surf the Google Gadgets directory— there 
are so many gadgets available, you can 
have one for every conceivable need. 

Making a mash-up (most people 
define Web 2.0 their own way, so the def- 
inition of "Web 2.0 mash-up" varies) is 
fun, and also makes for a slick site, if 
tastefully done. El 

bhaskar_sarma@thinkdigit.com 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




Bazaar 



We test the latest hardware 
and software products 
available in the market 



HP Compaq 2510p 

The Tough Ultraportable 



Designed from a pure 
usability point-of-view, 
this little baby is built like a 
tank. The construction is 
rugged in general, and we 
liked the sturdiness of the 
hinges in particular. It's not 
as flashy-looking as its 
competitors, but it's sleek, 
and weighs just 1.29 kg. 
With an Intel dual-core 




processor and a decent 
amount of RAM, while 
running Windows Vista 
Business, this laptop packs 
in enough power to cater to 
business needs. The proc- 
essor's and hard drive's focus 
is on increased battery life. 

The 2510p sports a 
widescreen (WXGA). An 
ambient light sensor 
automatically adjusts the 
screen's brightness. 

The keyboard is very 
comfortable to type on, but 
the touchpad is a little too 
smooth. There's also a highly 
responsive pointer-stick. The 
keyboard layout is good, 
and just above the function 
is a line of touch- 
sensitive cool-blue 
backlit buttons for 
functions such 
as Turning 
On/Off 
wireless, 
Volume control, etc. 
The 2510p features 



connectivity in the form of 
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well 
as Gigabit LAN— and even a 
legacy modem. It has a PC 
Card interface, SD memory 
slot, two USB ports and a 
FireWire port. You can buy 
the HP 2400/2500 Ultra-Light 
Docking Station to add more 
ports. There's also a D-Sub 
connector so you can hook it 
up to a projector. 

Security is taken care of 
by the biometric fingerprint 
reader and a host of utilities 
that can encrypt your hard 
drive and restrict data access 
to only authorised users. 
Even theft or removing the 
hard drive will not expose 
your data to prying eyes. 

There's not much to 
complain about with the 
2510p; a webcam would have 
been a great value-add. A 



RATINGS 


Features 


• ••• 


Performance 


• ••^ 


Build Quality 


• •••^ 


Value for Money ifitifit 


Overall 


• ••• 



faster hard drive would have 
improved performance 
drastically, while reducing 
battery life marginally. And 
remember, this laptop is not 
made for gaming. With a 
one-year warranty and HP's 
great support system, the HP 
Compaq 2510p is a 
reasonably good buy. 

Specifications 

Intel Core 2 Duo ULV processor 
U7600 @ 1.2 GHz; Mobile Intel 
GM965 Chipset; 1 GB 667 MHz 
DDR2@533 MHz; 80 GB 1.8-inch 
4200 rpm PATA hard drive; 
Intel GMA X3100 graphics with 
384 MB shared; DVD-RAM 
drive; 12.1 inch WXGA anti-glare 
LCD; Ports: 2 USB, 1 IEEE 1394, 
Gigabit, RJ-11, D-Sub; Wireless: 
Intel 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth 
2.0; Dimensions: 282.3(W) x 
212.8(D) x 24.7(H) mm; Weight: 
1.29 Kg; Battery: 3-cell (28 WHr) 
high capacity Lithium-Ion 

Contact: Hewlett-Packard India 
Phone: +91-9819881983 
E-mail: abhinaya.deshpande(a)hp.com 
Web site: www.hp.com/in 
Price: Rs 89,990 plus taxes 



Sandisk Sansa Shaker 

Salt 'N' Pepper Cellar This Isn't! 



The Shaker is a rather 
novel concept from 
Sansa, (and after their 
audiophile-grade Sansa 
E2xx series), both a 
disappointment and a 
delight. One look at it will 
delight, but after hearing it 
perform we were a little 
disappointed despite the 
fact that it's supposed to be 
a fun music player and not 
a real music player! 

The Shaker is dressed in 
funky wear— bright blue 
and white and looks like a 
salt dispenser, complete 
with the holes on top 
(loudspeaker). It features 
two 3.5 mm jacks. There are 
two white bands running 
around the top and bottom 
of the player. Both twist left 
and right— the top one 
controls the volume, the 



lower skips tracks. There's a 
large, receded play/pause 
button built into the body. 
Build quality is top class, 
and a classy aluminium 
clasp allows it to be 
belted on. 

Sound quality via the 
3.5 mm jacks isn't its forte. 
Music sounds muted across 
the spectrum. Highs and 
lows weren't defined at all, 
while the vocals and mid- 
range were barely tolerable 
for someone really into 
music. If you aren't the 
discerning type, you could 




RATINGS 


Feature 


+ *1 


Performance 


• • 


Value for Money 


• •• 


Build Quality 


• ••* 


Overall 


• •"* 



give it a try. The 
loudspeaker sounds much 
better though, and actually 
made tunes bearable. 

When we think Shaker 
all we envision is the 
average urban kid whose 
mom and dad don't want to 
buy something with a 
breakable LCD screen. At 
Rs 1,899, the Shaker is good 
enough to introduce your 
fresh-in-their-teens kids to 
the world of PMPs; others 
might want to give it a pass. 



Specifications 

Capacity: 512 MB Flash 
memory, SD expandable slot; 
Music formats: AAC, MP3, 
WAV; Dual 3.5 mm audio 
jacks; Lanyard with 
aluminium ring 

Contact: Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd 
Phone: +91-22-67090909 
E-mail: amitp@rptechindia.com 
Web site: www.sandisk.com 
Price: Rs 1,899 



78 DIGIT OCTOBER 2007 





Leadtek WinFast DTV1800 H 

Two Thumbs Up 



ry*he WinFast DTV1800 H is 
1 a hybrid PCI TV Tuner 
capable of receiving analogue 
as well as terrestrial digital 
(DVB-T) transmissions, which 
are currently available only 
in a few metros. The 
Conexant CX23880-39 + 
Zarlink 10353 chipset enables 
it to decode stereo audio. The 
audio cable connects 
internally to the PC-audio 
solutions, so no more looping 
cables collecting cobwebs at 
the back of your PC. 

The front-end is provided 
by the excellent WinFast 
PVR2 that features 
Scheduling and 
TimeShifting, as well as 
recording in WMV, Transport 
Stream, as well as MPEG-1/2 
(and no additional activation 
or purchase is required for its 



use). It remains perched 
quietly in the system tray and 
springs into action when 
launched using the icon or 
the full-function remote. The 
PVR2 even lets you use two 
TV-Tuners simultaneously, so 
you can either watch two TV 
channels, watch one and 
record the other, or watch TV 
and use the second TV-Tuner 
for surveillance. 

It detects even the 
weakest of cable TV and FM 
radio channels. Video as well 
as audio quality is top-notch. 



RATINGS 


Performance 


it itititi 


Features 


it itititi 


Ease of use 


it itititi 


Value for Money it it it it 


Overall 


it itititi 





You can force the aspect ratio 
to either 4:3 or 16:9— a 
delight for wide-screen users. 
To sum it up, the WinFast 
DTV1800 H gives you the best 
of both worlds, and we give it 
a double thumbs-up— no 
complaints. 

Specifications 

Chipset: Conexant 23880-39 + 
Zarlink 10353; Tuner: Xceive 
3018 TV/FM Stereo; TV 




reception: Analogue, DVB-T; 
Video standards: PAL, NTSC, 
SECAM; Software: WinFast 
PVR2; Video capture formats: 
WMV, MPEG-1/2, Transport 
Stream; Remote control; Input 
ports: Coaxial, S-Video 

Contact: TopNotch Infotronix 
Phone: +91-44-26616201 
E-mail: enquiry@zebronics.info 
Web site: www.leadtek.com 
Price: Rs 3,900 



LG Black Label Series KE970 "Shine" 

If only looks could matter 



Not all manufacturers are 
innovators of style. Ever 
since it launched the 
Chocolate a year ago, LG has 
been on to something, and 
that something is its new 
classy mobile line-up, of 
which the Black Label Series 
KE970 (a.k.a. Shine) is what 
we got to lay our hands on. 

Encased in a full-metallic 
body with a rich brush 
finish, the KE970 is as 
rugged as a tank. It is wider 
than most mobiles. The 
highlight here is its 2.2-inch 
LCD, which not only looks 
good while it is on, but 
doubles up as a mirror when 
not lit up! 

The keys offer good 
tactile feedback. LG has 
introduced the rolling scroll 
button for the first time, but 
we found it rather 
inconvenient: it is very 
frustrating to keep scrolling 
through long lists and Web 
pages. Probably because of 
the scroller, the UI is vertical 




menu-based rather than 
icon-based— rather 
unintuitive. 

The Shine has an 
excellent 2.0 MP camera with 
autofocus. It is certified by 
Schneider Kreuznach, the 
German company that 



certifies photo-optics. The 
camera does live up to its 
hype, and is one of the best 
we have seen thus far. You 
can choose from a host of 
different resolutions and 
there are five white balance 
settings, along with a few 
artistic effects. The camera is 
a bit sluggish, though. 

The media player is 
decent. Bluetooth 1.2 with 
A2DP support— wirefree 
stereo music on a supported 
headset. There is support to 
view most common office 
formats, but the internal 
memory is just 50 MB, and 
you'll need to use the 
microSD slot to add more— 
irritatingly, it's not hot- 
swappable. Lost Mobile Track 
(LMT) function is inbuilt to 
allow you to trace the phone 
in case you lose it. 

We found the call 



RATINGS 


Feature 


• •• 


Performance 


itititi 


Build Quality 


it itititi 


Value for Money itititi 


Overall 


itititi 



quality decent, the KE970 is 
weaker at signal reception 
than most phones we have 
seen. You can't make a call 
or even send a message 
when the phone is 
connected to the PC. 

To sum it up, the LG 
Black Label KE970 is iiber- 
high on style, but there are 
certain issues that need to 
be addressed. The price tag 
of Rs 19,000 is a little too 
much— there are better deals 
out there. 

Specifications 

GSM 900/GSM 1800/GSM 1900; 
Display: 2.2-inch with mirror 
finish; 240 x 320; 256K colours; 
Camera: 2.0 MP, autofocus, 
flash; Memory: 50 MB internal, 
microSD; Connectivity: GPRS, 
EDGE, Bluetooth 1.2 with A2DP, 
USB; Weight: 118 g; Dimensions: 
99.8 (H) x 50.6 (W) x 13.8 (D) 
mm; Accessories: Charger, USB 
cable, stereo handsfree, lanyard 

Contact: LG Electronics India P. Ltd 
Phone: +91-9899302514 
E-mail: viveksinghdilgindia.com 
Web site: www.lgezbuy.com 
Price: Rs 12,990 



NOVEMBER 2007 DIGIT 79 



Digital Tools I Bazaar 



Sennheiser PXC 450 

Noise out, sound in! 



The PXC 450 is the latest 
from Sennheiser's travel 
line of headphones. 
"Portable" and "circumaural" 
generally don't see eye to eye 
due to bulk and issues with 
anchoring them to your 
head. To remedy this, the 
PXC 450 has a very firm 
headband; thankfully, 
it's padded and well- 
designed enough to not 
squash your ears. 

The patented active noise 
cancellation technology 
called NoiseGard 2.0 makes 
its presence felt. This uses a 
combination of improved 
circuitry (over the previous 
version of NoiseGard), and 
better microphones (that 
detect unwanted outside 
noise). Their noise 
elimination algorithms have 
also seen an overhaul. Using 
NoiseGard will require a 
single AAA battery. Remove 
the battery and the PXC 450 
can function as a regular, 
wired headphone set. 

There's a talk-through 
function inbuilt. According 
to Sennheiser, two 
microphones (one on each 




cup) 

pick 

up 

external 

sounds 

in the 

immediate 

vicinity such 

as someone 

trying to talk to 

you. We tested this 

feature, but it didn't work 

too well, and the reviewer 

had to take off the 

headphones to hear what the 

other person was saying. 

Nevertheless the PXC 450 

isolates noise beautifully 

even with NoiseGard off. 

Bass is quite a mixed bag: 
sometimes it's there and 
goes quite low, on other 
tracks it's not as pronounced 
as the mids and highs. We'd 
have liked for these phones 
to be a little kinder to vocals 
and mids— which, although 
forward (not overly so), lack 
finer detail. (At this point 
we're comparing them to 
audiophile-grade cans.) 

Their quick response 
means the PXC 450 is equally 
suited for fast heavy metal 



music as 

to country or 

soft rock genres. They're 

rather easy to drive— so using 

them with your iPod while 

aboard a noisy local or bus is 

a possibility. 

These cans need to be 
used for around a hundred 
hours before they actually 
sound good (burned in, if 
you will). We found a full 35 
to 40 per cent difference in 



RATINGS 


Features 


• ••• 


Performance 


• •* 


Value for Monery k^k 


Comfort 


• •• 


Overall 





quality and bass 
reproduction, and highs 
became a little more 
noticeable. They're still 
improving after the 120 odd 
hours that we've spent with 
them, so don't go by the way 
a brand new pair sounds. 

At Rs 29,900, the PXC 450 
is far from affordable. Even if 
you can foot the bill, you will 
still need to accept that these 
aren't the audiophile-grade 
cans that the price suggests. 
That said, they're head and 
shoulder above most other 
headphones available in 
India, and definitely one of 
the best noise-cancelling sets 
we've come across (including 
the Bose Companion 5). Of 
course they're in a price 
league of their own! 

Specifications 

8 to 28000 Hz; 150 ohms; 
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 108 
dB; Cable: 1.4 m; Weight: 240g; 
Accessories: transport case, 6.3 
mm stereo adapter 

Contact: Sennheiser Electronics 

India Pvt Ltd 

Phone: +91-124-4187815 

E-mail: kapil.gulati@ 

sennheiserindia.com 

Web site: www.sennheiserindia.com 

Price: Rs 29,900 



Buffalo DriveStation TurboUSB 250GB (HD-HS250U2) 

Turbocharged Transfers 



The TurboUSB feature 
incorporated on the 
Buffalo HD-HS250U2 
external hard drive 
promises a 37 per cent 
improvement in transfer 
speeds over regular PATA- 
based external USB drives. 

The drive is well built 
with matte-black plastic 
edges. The bottom half of 
the silver coloured side 
panel and the top panel 
have pores to aid air 
circulation. Additionally, 
you can improve the drive's 
cooling by clipping the 
optional HD-HSU2 fan to the 
top of the drive. 

The drive automatically 
powers itself down when it 
detects a disconnection 
from the host PC, or when 
the PC shuts down. It enters 
a state of hibernation when 



inactive for a preset amount 
of time. The bundled Secure 
Lock Ware allows AES 
256/128 encryption of 
important data, preventing 
unauthorised access. Then, 
Memeo AutoBackup is a 
feature-rich and simple-to- 
use software— it allows 
you to back up to a shared 
network device, network 
folder, iPod, Memeo Internet 
drive, or Flash drive. 

The tests were 
performed in both normal 
and TurboUSB mode. In the 
latter, the drive outper- 



RATINGS 


Features 


• ••^ 


Performance 


irkki 


Build Quality 


• *• 


Value for Money kk 


Overall 


• •• 



formed the Digit Best Buy 
June 2007 Western Digital 
MyBook Essential (500 GB). 
Switching between Turbo 
and normal mode is easy 
using the TurboUSB utility. 
The drive is definitely 
not the cheapest amongst 
the 250 GB drives available, 
though the performance in 
TurboUSB mode justifies 
the cost to an extent. 
Power management, along 
with the option for 
additional cooling, makes 
it a good purchase if you're 
looking for a dedicated 
external drive. 

Specifications 

7200 rpm SATA; USB 2.0; 
TurboUSB; Dimensions: 4.6 (W) 
X 16.3 (D) X 20(H) cm; 
Weight: 6.2 kg 




Contact: Buffalo Inc. 

Phone: +91-11-41436751 

E-mail: csbuffalo 

@adventelectronics.com 

Web site: www.buffalotech.com 

Price: Rs 7,800 



80 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Bazaar 



Brother MFC-5460CN 

The Affordable Network MFD 



Print, scan, fax, copy and 
get photo prints all at a 
great price— seem 
impossible? Well, the 
Brother MFC-5460CN seems 
to be what you are looking 
for— at least at first look. Like 
all Brother MFDs, this one 
sports a no-nonsense, office 
look, with rugged build. It is 
quite small. At the front is a 
two-line, backlit LCD 
indicator that reports a lot of 
data and also lets you access 
the control panel menu. The 
input paper tray can 
accommodate 100 pages- 
just enough for a small to 
medium office— and the 35- 
page ADF tray is foldable. 

The printer sports a 
resolution of 6000 x 1200 
dpi— fairly high. There are 
four colour cartridges, and 
access to these is made easy 
by means of a door at the 
front of the unit. The flatbed 
scanner can scan legal-size 
documents. The 
printer supports most 
popular memory formats 
and it even 



has PictBridge. 

Connectivity is via USB 
and a network interface, but 
you will need to weave the 
wires through the provided 
channel into the heart of 
the device. The advantage: 
no accidental 
disconnections; 
disadvantage: it's irritating, 
and wires may not last long 
due to all the twisting. 

The inbuilt 33.6 kbps fax 
can store up to 400 pages 
and is capable of 
broadcasting to up to 150 
locations. The phonebook 
memory is 100 numbers. 

Printing is slow; the 
printer took half a minute 
to print a simple text 
document in normal mode, 
and it took over a minute to 
print the same in best 
mode. Print quality is 
decent and sharp. There is 
some amount of graininess 
in photo prints, but it's 
good enough for the 
average home user. The 
copier does an excellent job. 

The software bundle 




consists of the MFL-Pro Suite 
(a control centre of sorts), 
PaperPort SE with OCR (a 
definite plus), and even 
Presto! PageManager OCR for 
Mac users. 

At its price, we can say 
this is a good buy, if you 
don't mind waiting a bit for 
the print. 

Specifications 

Printer resolution: 6000 x 1200 



RATINGS 


Features 


• •••^ 


Performance 


• ••^ 


Ease of use 


• ••• 


Value for Money if it it if 


Overall 


• ••• 



dpi; Printing technology: 
thermal inkjet; Number of 
cartridges: 4; Scanner 
resolution (optical): 2400 x 
1200 dpi; Input paper tray 
capacity: 100 sheets; ADF 
capacity: 35 sheets; Memory 
Slots: CF, MS, MS Pro, SD, MMC, 
xD Picture Card; I/O ports: USB, 
RJ-45; Fax memory: 400 pages; 
Auto-dial: 100; Broadcast 
locations: 150; Weight: 9 kg; 
Dimensions: 44 (W) x 39.5 (D) 
x 22.6 (H) cm 

Contact: Brother International 
(India) Pvt Ltd 
Phone: +91-22-40988900 
E-mail: customercared)brother.in 
Web site: www.brother.in 
Price: Rs 13,500 



ViewSonic PJ258D 

Ouch-smoking hot! 

ViewSonic is just one of 
the many brands trying 
to push projectors into the 
home theatre market as 
good replacements for 
large TVs. The design of the 
PJ258D is great— it's com- 
pact and has a jet black 
glossy piano finish which 
makes it stand out— and 
which also makes it a fin- 
gerprint magnet. 

Screen quality is pretty 
decent— quite sharp, and 
zooming only affects it a 
little. The display turns out 
very bright, and is very 
prominent even in a well 
lit room. Text is readable, 
but the best results are 
achieved during image and 
movie viewing— Thus 
making it good for multi- 
media purposes. 

The remote control is 
small and moulded to fit 
the average hand well. The 



buttons are soft and easy to 
use. IR ports have been 
positioned on the front as 
well as at the back, so you 
don't have to plan where 
you'll stand. 

You can connect an iPod 
to the projector to watch 
your favourite movies on 
the big screen. The stan- 
dard inputs are VGA, 
S-Video, Composite, and a 
standard analogue audio 
in. The USB port can be 
used to upgrade the 
firmware. 

Heating, as with all pro- 
jectors, still remains an 
issue. The fan spews out 



RATINGS 


Features 


• •••* 


Performance 


• ••■* 


Build Quality 


• ••• 


Value for Money 


• •• 


Overall 


• •••* 




«5 



hot air continuously from 
its side, but the ViewSonic 
PJ258D still gets awfully 
hot even after just 15 min- 
utes of use. The stand for 
raising the projectors front 
is a little flimsy. 

The manual is very 
basic and has information 
on the parts of the project 
and how it's supposed to be 
set up. A large pouch is 
supplied as well. 

At a price of Rs 70,000, 
the ViewSonic PJ258D is 
reasonably priced and 
offers good performance. 
Also, it's cheaper than 
buying an LCD or Plasma 
TV with a comparable 
viewing area. 



The iPod docking 
facility might attract a few 
users, but the heat it gener- 
ates is definitely a concern 
if you plan on using it for 
many hours at a stretch. 

Specifications 

Size: 40-inch to 300-inch 
(diagonal), Pixel format: 1024 
x768, Dimensions: 
11.3x7.5x3.5 inches, Lamp: 
2000 hours (normal), 
Contrast ratio: 2000:1. 

Contact: Redington (India) Limited 

Phone: +91-9380303950 

E-mail: hemachandran.md) 

redington.co.in 

Web site: http://ap.viewsonic.com/in 

Price: Rs 70,000 



NOVEMBER 2007 DIGIT 81 



Digital Tools I Bazaar 



Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0 

The Big Daddy Of Internet Security Suites 



Kaspersky is another one 
of the many anti-virus 
makers that's gone the 
complete Internet security 
system way— not a bad 
thing. It's known to be a 
resource hog, so we 
checked if anything had 
improved with this edition. 

The suite takes care of 
all your security worries- 
files, mail, system network 
security, etc. All the basic 
controls for the 
components can be 
accessed from the main 
two-pane layout window. 
Modifying settings means 
you go to another window 
which houses all the 
settings for the 
components, and there are 
plenty of them. 

The core anti-virus 
feature is standard and 
allows you to scan files and 
folders along with boot 
sectors, Registry, memory, 
startup programs, etc. The 
Anti-spam has a nifty 




training feature that learns 
by looking at mails in your 
mailbox through a Wizard 
to provide more accurate 
spam protection. The 
firewall monitors for 
incoming and outgoing 
threats and notifies you 
immediately. Any attacks 



targeted at your computer 
can be set to have the 
attacker's machine blocked 
for a set period of time. 
The firewall also takes care 
of the blocking of ad 
banners and pop-ups from 
Web sites as well. The 
parental control is useful 
in not only stopping access 
to inappropriate sites, but 
also in setting limitations 
on time spent at the 
computer and on the 
Internet. User accounts on 
Windows can be set to 
Parent, Teenager, or Child 
and by default, all users 
are set to Child. 

Strictness of all the 
features can be adjusted 
using a slider. At the same 



RATINGS 


Features 


it it it it i 


Performance 


• •*• 


Ease of use 


• ••• 


Value for Money it if it 


Overall 


***• 



time, manual changes can 
be made. This is especially 
useful for spam filtering, 
parental control and the 
firewall. Heuristic scanning 
is available in most of the 
modules, but not enabled 
in all of them by default. 

The help file doesn't 
carry any screenshots, but 
the explanation is 
adequate and easy to 
understand. 

Kaspersky's Internet 
Security Suite is a pretty 
good choice for anyone 
looking for a complete 
security solution— it's right 
up there with the best 
security suites money can 
buy. There are no missing 
features, and everything is 
implemented well. New 
users might be a little 
confused by all the terms 
and huge list of options, 
though. 

Web site: www.kaspersky.com 
Price : $59.95 (Rs 2,400) (One year) 




CopyToDVD 4 

A non-deviated CD/DVD burning app 



Nero has always been the 
favourite choice in 
CD/DVD burning software, 
and is used by almost 
everyone today. VSO 
Software's CopyToDVD 4 just 
might be able to change 
that. CopyToDVD 4 is elegant 
and straightforward in its 
approach. The Welcome 
window doesn't look all that 
great, but it does its job of 
guiding you through. 
The most popular 
application is the 
CopyToDVD Manager, which 
is the Nero Burning ROM 
equivalent. The interface is 
simple, with two panes 
providing some help, and 
there's the main project 
window and the file browser 
window. The Wizard panes 
can be disabled. To make 
things more fun, a large 
collection of themes is 
provided, each of them 



tasteful and unique. 

Burning audio CDs is no 
problem— the software 
handles almost all audio 
formats. Burning video DVDs 
or CDs is a different story, 
however. Conversion to DVD 
means you might need to 
get VSO's other software— 
ConvertXtoDVD. This isn't 
free. Non-advanced users 
will have to go through the 
trouble of converting videos 
to suitable formats using 
third-party applications 
before burning them to CDs 
or DVDs. 

You can choose to 
schedule burning tasks, 



RATINGS 


Features 


it it it i 


Performance 


• ••• 


Ease of use 


• ••• 


Value for Money it it it it i 


Overall 


• ••• 





Copy 




Tools 



^ 



Data 





Audio 



jl Movie & 
^*v Pictures 







which can be useful in 
backing up data, say every 
day or every week. 

The software is light and 
bloat-free— 20 MB memory 
consumption most of the 
time. There is no help file, 
only a link to the manual 
when you look for Help. 

The price tag of Rs 1,200 
is definitely attractive. This 
10 MB software actually 
makes good sense when the 
latest Nero 8 is now nearing 



a gigabyte in size. 
CopyToDVD 4 does what 
most of us need, and not 
much more. It is great for 
people who keep backing up 
data very often— along with 
an occasional audio and 
video CD. 

Web site: VSO Software 
Phone: +33-5-62160223 
E-mail: annelise(a)vso-software.fr 
Web site: www.vso-software.fr 
Price: $29.99 (Rs 1,200) 



82 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Bazaar 



CAD-KAS PDF Editor 2.6 

Tricky! 




The need for a PDF Editor 
usually means you end 
up buying a copy of Adobe 
Acrobat. There are a few 
paid applications to do the 
same task. CAD-KAS's PDF 
Editor 2.4 is one such 
application among a few 
other emerging ones. 

The interface is 
modular; it allows you to 
add and remove or even 
move panels around. It is a 



little cluttered, with the top 
end of the window taken up 
by the two toolbars and the 
tab bar, which are used to 
do the majority of the 
tasks— opening, editing, 
exporting, etc. Although 
looks aren't a priority in 
software such as this, six 
menu colour schemes have 
been included as a way to 
improve the cluttered UI. 
One can change pretty 



much everything in an 
existing PDF file. Text, 
images, and even complete 
pages can be edited and 
moved about. New additions 
can be made easily in the 
same manner. Images in 
PDFs can be edited using 
the inbuilt image editor— 
which looks like MS Paint, 
but is a lot more advanced 
in features. A scanner can 
be used to add new pages. 
Bookmarks can be set, and 
existing ones deleted if 
required. 

CAD-KAS PDF Editor 
allows you to save PDF files 
in different PDF versions, 
and also encrypt and 
protect them from being 
edited or even viewed if 
required. One of the 
missing features is the 
ability to export a Web page 
into the PDF format. 



RATINGS 


Features 


• ••• 


Performance 


it it it i 


Ease of use 


it it it i 


Value for Money it it it it 


Overall 


it it it i 



Exporting to Word files 
and text files is supported, 
though. 

The way you use the 
software is a little different 
from what you're used to. 
You need to first select the 
tool and then select the text 
or image that you're trying 
to alter. Double-clicking 
doesn't enable any kind of 
editing mode. There is no 
live preview of all the tasks 
done— on images for 
example. Users will take a 
while to get used to all this. 
The help file has sketchy 
documentation with the 
most basic explanations, 
and contains just a few 
screenshots. 

CAD-KAS PDF Editor 
skimps on some of the 
features Acrobat gives you, 
but it is way cheaper— just 
$79. Ignore the tiny missing 
features, and it's a great 
tool for anyone who needs 
to create documentation or 
distribute important 
documents. 

Web site: www.cadkas.com 
Price: $79 (Rs 3,200) 



ACDSee 2 Pro 

Lightroom's new competitor 



Ifigd 



ACDSee is an image 
viewer that's been well 
known since the days of 
IrfanView. ACDSee had quite 
a few followers for its 
superior features back then, 
but IrfanView was generally 
known more for being 
freeware. ACDSee 2 Pro has 
moved from being just an 
image viewer. This new 
version boasts of great photo 
handling features for the 
professional photographer. 

The first thing ACDSee 2 
Pro does is catalogue all 
your images when you first 
run it. The interface is 
surrounded by sidebars, 
leaving only a small area to 
actually view images and 
the thumbnails. 

Photos are sorted by 
time and can be viewed 
through the Calendar view. 
The other useful filtering 
feature is the Organise 
sidebar, which allows you to 



display photos from only a 
particular camera. A quick 
preview appears when you 
hover the pointer over an 
image. You can enter image 
editing mode by double- 
clicking on any of the 
photos. ACDSee 2 Pro even 
loads videos; you can not 
only view them, but also 
convert them using the 
codecs on your machine. 

Images and videos can 
even be burnt onto CD and 
DVD. Wizards are available 
to create video CDs as well. 
Other than that, you can 
even export your photos as 
HTML albums, PDF, or 
PowerPoint presentations. 



RATINGS 


Features 


• ••• 


Performance 


it it it i 


Ease of use 


••• 


Value for Money it it i 


Overall 


• •• 




Memory consumption 
was well under 30 MB while 
browsing images, and only 
spiked by a few (5 to 10) MB 
while opening images. 

Other than its clumsy 
interface, ACDSee 2 Pro 
seems a nice software, until 
you get to know about the 
price tag-$129.99. It's still 
much cheaper than Adobe 
Lightroom, which is more 
than twice its price. It has 
quite a few features that can 



be compared to those of 
Lightroom, but it doesn't 
match its simplicity. 

People looking for image 
viewers can stick to free 
ones like IrfanView, as 
ACDSee 2 Pro has gone far 
beyond that. Users who 
can't afford Lightroom 
might want to consider 
ACDSee 2 Pro. 

Web site: www.acdsee.com 
Price: $129.99 (Rs 5,200) 



84 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



fr 




WINDOWS VISTA 

□ Adding Desktop Icons And 
Customising Them 

The only icons on the desktop you will 
find after a clean install of Vista is that of 
the Recycle Bin. We love our desktops, and 
it's one of the quickest ways to access 
programs. To get icons of the other 
necessary programs in Vista like the 
Computer and Network, right-click on the 
desktop and select Personalize. Click 
on Change desktop icons in the left 
pane. Check the boxes for the icons that 
you require on the desktop. Click OK. 



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Necessary desktop icons can be set to be dis- 
played on the desktop 

The same window also allows you to set 
custom icons for each item. Click on the 
icon that needs to be changed and click 
the Change Icon button. Select the icon of 
your choice and click OK. 



□ Disabling Folders And Links In 
The Start Menu 

The Vista Start Menu has links to 
almost everything: Music, Games, 
Pictures, Documents, etc. You may not 
need all of these, or you may need to 
add some more shortcuts. To remove 
these links, right-click on the taskbar 
and click on Properties. Click on the 
Start Menu tab. Here you can choose 
to set the Start Menu to look like older 
Windows versions, you can choose to 
select the Classic Start menu by 
clicking the radio box. To remove the 
unnecessary items, click on 
Customize next to Start menu. To 
disable the links, check the radio 
box— Don't display this item for the 
items you want removed. Click OK 
when done. 

□ Changing Power Button 
Characteristics 

Vista has this useful option of allowing 
the user to choose the function that the 
Power button on your computer performs. 
Go to Start > Control Panel and (if 
you're using the Classic View) double- 
click on Power Options > Choose 
what the power button does. To 
do this from the standard Control Panel 
view, go to System and Maintenance 
> Power Options > Choose what 
the power button does. Once you've 
got here, you will find that the options 
are disabled by default, so click on 
Change settings that are 
currently unavailable. Click on the 
dropdown for the Power button settings. 
Choose from Sleep, Hibernate and Shut 
down. Click Save Changes when you're 
done. 



□ Accessing The File Menu 
One of the characteristics of Vista 
is that there might not be any File 
menu in some of the applications such 
as Windows Explorer for example. At 
any time to access this menu, press 
[ Alt] . To permanently enable the 
menus, open Windows Explorer. Go to 
Organize > Folder and Search 
Options. Click on the View tab and 
check the box for Always show 
menus. Click OK. 



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Pressing Alt shows the File menu which isn't 
displayed on Vista by default 

□ Search The Internet Quickly 
Microsoft has implemented the 
search bar within the Start Menu in 
Windows Vista. Its main purpose is to 
access files and programs quickly but it 
can be used to search the Internet as well. 
Click on the Start button or press the 
Windows key on your keyboard. Enter the 
keywords in the search field. Click on 
Search the Internet to use the default 
search engine (Live Search). In Windows 
Explorer, the search field normally 
searches the local drive. Pressing 
[Shift] + [Enter] after entering the 
keyword will open up a new browser 
window with results of the search in the 
default search engine. 

□ Adding New Search Engines To 
The List 

You just learnt how to use the Start 
Menu to search the Net. You can also 
change the default search engine Vista 
uses. To do this, start Internet Explorer. 
Click on the dropdown in the Search 
field and click Find More Providers. A 
page should load with a list of some 
search engines. Click on the search 
engine you want to use. A confirmation 
window will pop up. Click Add Provider. 
If you want to make it your default 
search engine, check the "Make this my 
default search provider" box. Click OK. 
Now all Internet searches done by you 






DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



85 



Digital Tools I Tips & Tricks 

will be handled by the new default 
search engine. 

□ Automating Drive Defragging 
Sessions 

Defragging is a must. Vista has an 
inbuilt scheduling feature that allows 
you to set when you want your drives to 



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Users can now set when they want their system to be def ragged 



options that are hidden away. To be 
able to use these, hold down [ Shift] 
when right-clicking. If you do this to a 
folder, you can launch a command 
prompt at that location. You will now 
be able to copy the path of a file or a 
folder using that menu much quicker 
than usual. 



□ Removing Vista And 
Its Boot Loader 

If you have Vista and XP in 
dual-boot and want to get rid 
of Vista, its boot loader is an 
obstacle. To get rid of Vista, 
insert your Windows XP CD 
and boot from it. Remember 
to set your first boot device 
as your CD/DVD drive. Press a 
key when it tells you to 
during boot up. When 
prompted, press [ R] to load 
the 



□ 



H a™ 



Recently Opened Items 

As in Windows XP, Vista has a small 
list that shows all files that were opened 
recently. By default, the value is set to 15. 
This number can be changed through a 
registry tweak. Start registry editor 
(Start > Run > regedit). Browse to 
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ 
Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curr 
entVersion\ PoliciesX Explorer. 
Here, right-click in the right pane and 
create a new 32-bit DWORD called 
MaxRe cent Docs. Double-click on the 
entry and give it a Decimal type value of 
how many ever entries you want in the 
recently opened file list. Reboot when 
you're done and the changes will be 
applied. 

If you do not want to have a list of 
recently opened files at all, the easier way 
is to right-click on the taskbar and click 
on Properties. Click on the Start Menu tab 



be defragged. Start Disk Defragmenter. 
Click on Modify Schedule and select 
when you want the defragging to take 
place. You can set the frequency, the day 
and time for the defragment process. 

□ Turn Off Unnecessary Features 
Vista comes bundled with a whole 
lot of features you don't always need. 
These can be turned off to save 
resources and speed up the computer a 

Qf Windows Features 



Recovery 
console. Confirm your 
Windows installation 
by entering the 
number. Enter your 
Administrator 
password at the 
prompt. On the 
prompt, type f ixmbr 
and then type 
fixboot. 

Reboot and you 
should be 



ful Shortcuts 



Bring gadgets sidebar into focus 

Cycle between gadgets 

Launch nth Quicklaunch application 

Cycle between 3D objects 
Cycle through programs in taskbar 
Quickly viewing file details in Explorer 
Show all subfolders under a folder 



[Windows] + [Spacebar] 
[Windows] + [G] 
[Windows] + [Application 
number in Quicklaunch] 
[Windows] + [Tab] 
[Windows] + [T] 
[Ctrl] + [Mouse scroll] 
[Num Lock] + [*] 



Tu rn Wi nd o ws f eatu res o n o r off * 

To turn a feature on. select its check box, To turn a feature off, clear its 
check bene. A filled box means that only part of the feature is turned on. 



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ll]; MicrosQft.NET Frame wont 3.0 
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SJJ* Remote Differential Compression 
JX* Removable Storage Management 

B J,i RIP Listener 
ffiBJi Services for NFS 

[j Simple TCPIP s ervices (i.e. echo, daytime etc) 



able to boot into Windows XP. 
Make sure you have backed up 
all critical files. Then format the 
partition on which Vista was 
installed to clear out Vista. 

Another way to do this is to 
insert your Windows Vista CD 
and boot into Windows XP as 
usual. Go to Start > Run, type 
X:\boot\bootsec.exe 
/nt52 ALL /force. (Replace X 
with your CD/DVD drive letter). 
Reboot and format the Vista 
partition. 



□ 



Disabling unnecessary Vista features can save space and 
resources 



bit. Go to Start > Control Panel > 
Programs > Turn Windows 
Features on or off. A list of 
installed components will be displayed 
and the ones not required like Tablet PC 
Optional Components and Fax and Scan 
can be removed. Uncheck the boxes for 
these components and click OK. 



□ 



An Advanced Right-click Menu 

The right-click is the quickest way 
to access and work with files. The Vista 
right-click menu has a few more 



Using Parental Control 

Not only can parental 
control in Vista safeguard your 
children from inappropriate 
content, it can also regulate the 
way they use the computer. Go to Start 
> Control Panel > User 
Accounts and Family Safety and 
click on Set up parental 
controls. 

You can create a new account for 
your children by clicking on Create a 
new user account or just choose an 
existing account. Here, click On, 
enforce current settings. Other 
setting that you will find here are time 
limits, and program, Internet and game 
access restrictions. 



and uncheck the "Store and display a list 
of recently opened files" box. 

□ Tweaking Indexing 
If you set Vista to index all files 
on your drive, this can take quite a 
while. Chances are, you will not be 
searching for INI files in the 
C:\Windows\system32 anytime soon. 
You can speed up the process by 
selecting only the most important 
locations to be indexed. Get to the 
Indexing Options by going to Start > 
Control Panel > System and 
Maintenance > Indexing Options. 
Now, go to Modify > Show all 
locations. Here you can select which 
folders you want indexed. Clicking on 
Advanced in the Indexing Options 
window will let you set filters for file 
types as well. 

ADOBE FLASH CS3 

he latest version of Adobe Flash is 
part of the CS3 badge. It's got a 
new look and we're bringing you a 
whole bunch of tweaks for Flash novices. 



T 

whol 



Customize Your Toolbars 

Toolbars are the quickest way to 
access tools, but Flash has so many tools 
that it's not possible to have all of them 



4 



86 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



fr 




visible together. Adobe's products are 
notorious for having tools with sub-tools 
hidden in them. These can be accessed 
by holding down the left-click on a 
particular tool in the toolbar. These 
tools usually have a small tag on the 







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Flash CS3 toolbars can be modified to suite 
your style of working 

right-bottom of the icon as an indicator. 

Adobe Flash CS3 allows you to add 
custom sub-tools to any existing tool. 
Just click on Edit > Edit Tools 
Panel and select the tool that you want 
to add the sub-tool to. Choose one from 
the list of available tools and click Add 
and then click OK when done. You can 
also remove sub-tools that may have 
come by default with Flash CS3 if you 
want to. 

□ Onion Mode 
The Onion mode in Flash is kind 
of like using the transparent sheet 
paper used by animators before 
computers came along. It allows you to 
get a reference of previous frames so as 
to be able to plot changes in the frames 
accurately. The Onion mode can be 
enabled by clicking on the Onion Skin 
button at the bottom of the timeline 
window. If you just want the outlines 
of the objects to be shown, then click 
on the Onion Skin Outlines button 
which is to the right of the Onion Skin 
button. 



□ Tweak Compression Settings 
While working on Flash, you can 
import objects that weren't designed in 
Flash, such as images or videos. This 
can add to file sizes in Flash 
animations though. You can access 
compression settings by going to File 
> Publish Settings > Flash. You 
can modify the JPEG quality and the 
audio quality here. Other ways of 
getting smaller Flash file sizes is to set 
fairly low frame rates if your 
animation has no fast motions. 



Digital Tools I Tips & Tricks 

To get more space you can disable the 
toolbars by pressing [ F4] . Pressing 
[ F4] again will bring back the 
toolbars. The CS3 family of products 
also have toolbars that can be made 
more compact by clicking on the 
arrows at the title of each toolbar. 



□ 



— 






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r jte^miMJfr HJ 




The Pen Tool 

You might think that any 
freehand drawings done using the 
Pencil or Brush tool can't be edited 
easily. Flash is much more flexible 

than that. Clicking the pen 
- « " *~^ | tool displays the path for 
the freehand drawing and 
you can in fact add, remove 
and move control points in 
it. When you use the 
Eraser, new control points 
are automatically created 
to form a new modified 
shape. 



□ 






Compression settings for audio and images can be modified 
as per the needs 



□ Better Performance 
The preview feature will tell you 
how the project is coming along. 
Depending on the number of objects 
and layers, the performance of the 
preview can suffer and you might get 
really low frame rates. Flash gives you 



Animations And 
Keyframes 

Animations in 3D or 2D are 
made up of a sequence of 
keyframes, each with 
objects in them. Flash, like 
other animation packages, 
works in the same manner, 
and creating animations means you 
need to create keyframes wherever 
there's some kind of significant change 
made. To create a keyframe, right-click 
in the time line and click on Insert 
keyframe. 



□ 



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during previews 



Making Better Use Of The 
Timeline Window 

The timeline plays an important 
part in helping you keep track of 
everything going on in an 
animation. It allows you to jump 
to different positions and make 
changes to the animation. It looks 
rather simple but there are 
different faces to it. Click on the 
right top icon of the timeline 
window. Here, you can change the 
position of the window and the 
size of its contents. The most 
useful feature is evident when you 
choose the Preview mode. The 
timeline window now shows a 
frame-by-frame preview instead of 



the option to choose the quality of the 
preview too. Go to View > Preview 
Mode and choose from one of the 
modes listed there. 

□ Quick Hide Toolbars 
Like every other advanced 
graphics designing tool, Flash CS3 too 
has toolbars which eat up a lot of 
valuable workspace. Depending on the 
resolution of your monitor, you might 
end up with very little working space. 



just keyframes. 













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one thinks 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



87 



Digital Tools I Tips & Tricks 




Bryce 5.5 



Creating 3D imagery wasn't easy, we thought-until we discovered a software 
called Bryce 



Jayesh Limaye 



Rendering 3D images is a won- 
derful and addictive passion as 
well as an attractive career option. 
But some people— for example, graphic 
artists— are actually afraid of 3D ren- 
dering software, and their fears are 
well-founded many a time; seldom will 
you find a software that's easy to learn 
and master. Here, we'll introduce you to 
one software that is! 

Bryce 5.5 is a 3D illustration and 
rendering software available for free 
download (122 MB) from 

www.daz3d.com. (You'll also find it on 
our August 2007 DVD.) You'll need to 
create an account at the site to pro- 
cure your free serial code. 

The beauty of Bryce is the ease with 
which you can create breathtakingly 
realistic 3D landscapes and animations 
using a drag-and-drop interface on a 
"real-time canvas" (meaning you can 
alter the position and shape, and even 
replace objects in the scene any time 
you want). All this in an intuitive 
manner, in a matter of minutes. You 
design a scene in 3D within Bryce, then 
Bryce takes the 3D information and fig- 
ures how it would look in 2D (with 
shading and all) so when you render it, 
it looks like a painting with a 3D effect. 

Let's look at how handy this tool 
really is. 




Yes, you can actually create this in Bryce- 
with considerable ease! 

Easy-to-use GUI Toolbars 

You'll see three types of toolbars: one 
for creating objects, one for editing 
them, and one for editing the environ- 
ment ("Sky & Fog"). There is also a 
camera control section that allows you 
to change the camera angle or your 
view of the scene (refer image below). 
The mountain in the image— with the 
objects around it— changes your camera 
view to top, then front, left, right, back, 
and underneath. Clicking on the small 
ring at the upper right corner gives you 
a "flyaround" preview of your creation, 



meaning you can look at the whole 
scene at once. You can either move the 
camera angle on any of the three axes 
by clicking and dragging on the flat 
arrows, or you can move all three at 
once with the trackball— though this is 
a bit harder in terms of ease of control. 
Just below the trackball are the render 
options, with the render button at the 
centre. The rest of the options allow you 
to do such things as turning textures on 
and off while rendering, doing a quick 
preview render, 

resuming rendering, 
and clearing a render. 
At the very top of 
the screenshot along- 
side (Camera controls 
and Nano Preview) is 
the Nano Preview 
window, which gives 
you a preview, in 
quick thumbnail size 
render form, of your 
creation. This saves 
time because full- 
screen rendering 
takes much longer. 
You can save camera 
angles by clicking on 
the little buttons to 
the left of the 
window. The top 
button gives you the 
default camera angle. 




The section where 
you control the 
camera angle- 
and more 



The Create Toolbar 

The Create Toolbar is the one which you 
will be using the most while using this 
software. The first three of these icons 
represent infinite planes; the blue one 
is water, the white one is clouds, and 
the last is a ground plane. 

Next is the mountain, which allows 
you to create random mountains, and 
there's a tool that allows you to edit 
almost everything about the moun- 
tain. Similarly, there is the random 
rock, symmetrical lattice, and a multi- 
tude of objects (in blue) that can be 
placed in the manipulation field (the 
3D canvas). The last group of objects (in 
yellow) are the light sources; these let 
you place spotlights, radial light 
sources, parallel lights, etc. and decide 
their directions to illuminate the 



The "Create" section using which you can place 
different objects in the scene 



scene. Clicking on the icons places 
them in the manipulation field. 

As you probably know, proper 
lighting can make all the difference 
between just another illustration and 
a masterpiece. 

The Edit Toolbar 

This toolbar allows you to edit the 
objects you just created. The tool on the 
far left is the material editor, which 
opens up a window where you can 
choose from or create custom textures 
for your objects. Next is the stretch tool, 
which allows, as the name suggests, to 
stretch objects on the three axes. This 
can also be used to mirror objects. The 
rotation tool and the move tool are 
obvious. The align tool that comes next 
lets you line up all your objects in refer- 



e 4s 



Sty L Fog . 







The "Edit" section where you can edit the 
objects placed in the scene 

ence to one thing or another. Next is the 
randomise tool, which sends your 
objects scurrying in random direc- 
tions... Last comes the terrain editor 
tool, which brings up different edit win- 
dows for rocks, mountains, light 
sources, and more. You can also edit 
objects in the manipulation window 
using the mouse. 

The Sky & Fog Toolbar 



iM^fe^ 



The great outdoors... create the environment 
of your choice 

This toolbar allows you to create custom 
skies and atmospheres for your scene. 
Each of the controls has a slider using 
which image attributes can be con- 
trolled. The control on the far left 
selects the sky mode and sky colour. 
The second control selects shadows and 
ambient colour. The third modifies 
haze amount and colour, and the fourth 
modifies fog and fog colour. 
Experiment with the others... 

The next tool is the cloud fre- 
quency, which is used to randomly 
place clouds in the scene. By clicking 
and dragging your mouse over this 
field, you can alter the position of the 
sun. Clicking on the small sphere at 
the top left of this sphere will toggle 



4 



88 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Tips & Tricks 



fr 



the sun to night mode; clicking on the 
small rectangle at the bottom left of 
the sphere will let you choose the 
colour of the sun. 

Quick Menus For Presets 



H 



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BooJonn OtyocSs 

Imparled Objects 

Wounlams 

PalJhs | || '»', 

Rocks 

Trees 

Tulpnal 

Vecfetatson 





You can choose different preset objects 



Each of the toolbars we've talked about 
has quick menus that can be accessed by 
clicking on the small triangle at the 
right (of Create, Edit, as well as Sky & 
Fog). You can access preset objects in 
here, or you can save your custom cre- 
ations for later use. This makes sets of 
theme scenes easier to create. For 
example, say you've created a decent 
model of a car. Instead of saving the 
scene and repositioning it for every sub- 
sequent picture with the car, you could 
just save the object group under the user 
section of the quick create window, and 
place it in your scene in a jiffy. 



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You can choose presets of environments here 

The Animation Tool 

Bryce comes with a complete animation 
tool. The animation is controlled by 
means of a small toolbar at the bottom 
right of the window. Select File > 
Animation Setup, and specify the 
duration of the animation as well as the 
frames per second. To animate a scene, 
first create the first one (using the com- 
posite image you've created) with the 
slider at the 00.00 position. Now make 
the animation toolbar completely vis- 
ible by clicking on the Time / 
Selection Palette Toggle (the 
small sphere at the extreme bottom 
right of the window). Then click the 
little Plus beside the icon that looks like 
a key. Next move the slider forward to a 
desired time in the animation (the 
measurement is in seconds). Then 
change the location, shape, and texture 
of objects in the first scene. 

When you press Play, the objects 
will get animated. The results are sim- 
ilar to a 3D morph. (You can also curve 
the objects' paths.) That's how you 
make animations in shape and posi- 
tion, but if you want to animate the 
material of the object, there is the 
material editor. 



— : — I 



Choose a preset material for the scene 

Next is the much-used quick menu 
for the Edit toolbar, which again lets 
you choose from a selection of preset 
textures and materials. Again, you can 
also save user-created presets here. 

Finally, the quick menu for the Sky & 
Fog toolbar lets you create and save 
custom skies. You may not feel the need 
to make your own skies, but we recom- 
mend that you do, because all the preset 
skies leave the scene shrouded in black- 
since the clouds block out the sun! If you 
create it from scratch, you can let the 
sun shine through. 




The Materials Lab: Lots of options to play with! 

Select Objects > Edit 

Material to open the Materials Lab. 
Here, you can change aspects of the 
object's texture such as ambience, spec- 
ularity, bumpiness, transparency, 
reflection, refraction, and more, and 
wrap textures around them. You will 
notice the familiar animation control 
at the bottom of the window, and it can 
be used in the same way as before. You 



can change the texture according to the 
time slider and click the Plus icon 
beside the key icon to add a key event. 
When you render this animation, the 
texture will change scene by scene 
according to what you've done in the 
animation. 

Work better with Bryce 

Texture Presets 

Since textures are the basic building 
blocks of materials, it would have been 
great to have a preset menu for tex- 
tures, like you have for materials. Well, 
it is there, but hidden. To access it, 
instead of simply clicking to get the tex- 
ture list pop-up, hold down the [Shift] 
key while clicking on the texture name 
or the button beneath it. Now you can 
view the graphical texture presets 
dialog, which not only allows you easily 
select textures, but also lets you import 
and export textures. 

Precise Placement Of The 
Sun and/or Moon 

If you would like to place the sun 
and/or the moon at a precise location 
in the picture, you can do it this way: 
first select the Sky&Fog Palette, hold 
down [Ctrl] + [Alt], and double-click 
on the sky sphere. This is to switch to 
the sun/moon placement mode. Hold 
down [Ctrl] + [Alt] and click into the 
scene to place the sun at the cursor 
position. To place the moon at the 
cursor position, hold down [Ctrl] + 
[Alt] + [Shift]. 

Negative Lights (Virtual 
Black Holes) 

In Bryce, light can have a negative 
value in the Light Editor. So while the 
upper limit for this is 999 (very bright 
light), the lower limit is -999. In the 
latter case, the source will suck the sur- 
roundings, creating an eerie, unreal 
effect. As you might have guessed, 
the shadows casted in this case will 
be bright. Give it a try— amazement 
guaranteed! 

It's Good Fun 

Bryce 5.5 is a great 3D illustration and 
rendering program, we think, and is 
equally useful for the beginner as well 
as the expert graphics artist. While it 
does not offer advanced CAD-style 3D 
creation or figurative animation capa- 
bilities, it is an effective tool for 
achieving attractive 3D scenery and 
well-lit environments. 

Go ahead, create a stunning 
landscape, put it up as your wallpaper, 
but don't submit it to wallpaper sites. 
It's yours! ■ 

jayesh_limaye@thinkdigit.com 






DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



89 



Digital Tools I Tips & Tricks 



□ Undo Levels 
The Undo tool is useful to fix any 
errors that may have occurred while 
working in Flash. Undo does take some 
amount of system resources by keeping 
track of all of the steps on the way. 
Fortunately, you can set the limit on 
how many undos one can execute. Go 
to Edit > Preferences. Change the 
values for the number of levels allowed 
and click OK. 

□ Using Custom Workspaces 
Every individual has his or her 
own way of working and arranging 
tools. Every kind of workspace layout is 
suitable for a particular kind of work. 
Use the workspace tool to save any 
workspace layout that you've made. 
Click on Window > Workspace > 
Save current to save a workspace. To 
access the workspace at any time, click 
on Window > Workspace and then 
select your custom workspace. 

□ Importing Files In Library 
Importing images and other 
media into the library in Flash is a 
good practice. It's easier to manage and 
access files rather than directly 
importing single files into the stage. 
Click on File > Import > Import 
to library. Now you can simply drag 
and drop elements to your project and 
at the same time you get a small 
preview of the same. 

Flash CS3 can also directly open up 
Flash projects on sites instead of 
downloading the files on your local 
machine first and then opening them. 
Click on File > Open from Site. 







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Choose the site on which you have the 
project hosted. Enter the password. 
Sites can be added by clicking on File 
> Edit Sites. 

Flash is the latest in the Adobe 
family of products. Integration between 
all the products has been built into it as 
well. When you try and import a 
Photoshop file (PSD), for example, you 
will be displayed all the layers in the 
file and you get to choose which ones 
you want to import. You can import 
each of the layers as separate keyframes 
or layers. 

□ Exporting Animations To 
Movies 

Flash isn't used for just Web content. 
Flash is actually used by a lot of other 
media like in TV advertising. Keeping that 
in mind, the developers of Flash have 
allowed the user to export animations as 
standard video formats. When your 
animation is ready, click on File > 
Export > Export Movie. Choose the 
format and enter a filename and location. 
Click Save. Depending on the format, you 
will be asked to set compression settings 
and the codecs to be used. 

□ Disabling The Launch Screen 
The Welcome or Launch screen is 
the one that pops up as soon as you 
start Flash CS3. It's useful in loading up 
different kinds of projects and 
templates for platforms such as mobile 
devices. Instead of having to select your 
recently saved project every single time, 
you can have your last open file load up 
by itself. Go to Edit > Preferences. 
Click on the On launch dropdown 



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required resources 



The annoying Launch screen can be disabled if 
required 

menu and choose Last Documents 
Open. If you want no files open, choose 
No Document. Click OK to save. 

□ Using Images Instead Of Colour 
As Fill 

Instead of having plain colours for 
objects, you can make use of images 
instead. Click on the Color window 
to the right, choose the Color tab. 
Click the Type dropdown and choose 
Bitmap. Click the Import button and 
select the image you want to use. Now 
use any of the painting tools— Brush 
or the Paint Bucket Tool to color 



objects and the image will be applied 
in place of color. You can also use 
this feature to have images as fill 
colors while creating new objects 
as well. 

□ Video Encoding In Flash CS3 
Adobe Flash CS3 comes along with 
a video encoding utility which is useful 
in converting videos from almost every 
format into Flash. Click on Adobe 
Flash CS3 Video Encoder from the 
Start Menu to start it. Click on Add to 
add the videos for conversion. Click on 




Flash CS3 comes with a standalone video 
encoder 

the Settings button to set parameters 
for the conversion. You can quickly 
choose from one of the readymade 
presets available by selecting one from 
the dropdown menu. Use the sliders to 
set the region you want to encode and 
set video and audio compression settings 
using the Video and Audio tabs. Click 
OK when done. Click Start Queue to 
start the conversion process. 

If you are planning to use a video in 
the Flash project, you can also import a 
video into Flash CS3 itself by clicking on 
File > Import > Import Video. Here you 
are asked to enter the location of the file 
and where it would eventually be 
deployed— web server, Flash Media Server, 
etc. Clicking Next shows up a window 
similar to that of the Flash CS3 Video 
Encoder after which you're asked to 
select the template for the player. 

□ Using The 
History 
Window 

The History 
feature, like in 
Photoshop, keeps 
track of all the 
actions you've 
executed in 
Flash. At anytime 
you wish, you 
can jump back to 
any step by 
clicking on that 



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The history window 
gives a list of steps 



90 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Tips & Tricks 



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step. The history window might not 
always be visible but you can enable it by 
clicking on the Window menu and then 

on Other Panels > History. 

□ Layers To Organise Elements 
Using layers while designing is 
useful in grouping elements and 
making changes to them without any 
confusion. To add new layers in Flash 
CS3, right click on the timeline window 
and click Insert Layer. 

□ Optimising Shapes 
Every object in Flash has a number 
of control points which give it a distinct 
shape. Sometimes there can be too many 
redundant points especially in cases 
where you have used an eraser to erase 
certain portions of an object. An 
optimising feature is built into Flash CS3 
which can be accessed by first clicking 
on an object using the Selection tool. 
Click on Modify > Shape > 
Optimize. Set a level of smoothing and 
click OK. If you find the object is losing 
any serious characteristic shape, then 
undo the move. It's also a good habit to 
use the Smooth and Straighten tools 
from the Main toolbar. They can be used 
to bring down the number of nodes or 
make the objects smoother. 

□ Spell Checking 
The spell checking feature can 
help those embarrassing slipups from 
making their way on to the Internet. 
Run the spell checking feature by 
clicking on Text > Check 
Spelling. You can setup the spell 
checking feature much better and also 



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Flash's Spell check is very customisable 

specify more dictionaries of other 
languages and custom dictionaries of 
your own by clicking on the Text menu 
and then on Spelling Setup. 



□ Precision Designing 
The Snapping, Ruler and Guides 
feature are there to help create designs 
accurately with ease. Snapping can be 
set on by clicking on View > 



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Guides can make aligning and accurate placing 
of objects very easy 

Snapping. Click on Edit Snapping in 
that sub-menu how you would like the 
mouse pointer to snap to. The Ruler 
feature is required to be able to set 
guides which are similar to grids but 
which can be modified and created as 
per your needs. 

To create a new guide, click on View 
> Rulers. Once the ruler has been 



♦ Quick Shortcuts 


Play 


[Enter] 


Rewind 


[Ctrl] + [Alt] + [R] 


Move ahead by 1 frame 


[.] 


Move back by 1 frame 


U 


Insert frame 


[F5] 


Create blank keyframe 


[F6] 


Convert to Keyframes 


[F7] 


Clear keyframes 


[Shift] + [F6] 


Tools 




Brush 


[B] 


Pencil 


[Y] 


Pen 


[P] 


Paint Bucket Tool 


[K] 


Eraser 


[E] 


Insert Symbol 


[Ctrl] + [F8] 


Move object forward 


[Ctrl] + [Up arrow] 


Move object backward 


[Ctrl] + [Down 
arrow] 


Send object to front 


[Ctrl] + [Shift + 
[Up arrow] 


Send object to bottom 


[Ctrl] + [Shift] + 
[Down arrow] 


View 




Zoom in 


[Ctrl] + [+] 


Zoom out 


[Ctrl] + [-] 


Set 100% zoom 


[Ctrl] + [1] 


Show all 


[Ctrl] + [3] 


Show grid 


[Ctrl] + ['] 


Show guide 


[Ctrl] + [;] 


Enable/Disable Ruler 


[Ctrl] + [Alt] + 
[Shift] + [R] 



enabled, left click on one of the rulers 
and drag it out where you want a guide 
line to be set. Do the same steps with the 
two rulers with as many guide lines as 
you wish to create. If you wish to remove 
a guide line, then click on the guide line 
and drag it out of the window. Make 
sure you have the snapping feature set to 
Guides. Now when you move your mouse 
pointer near a guide it should latch on 
to them automatically. 

□ Motion And Shape Tweening 
The problem with animating one 
frame after another is that it's very slow 
to create and it's not perfect so the 
resulting animation isn't as smooth as 
expected. There are two features called 
motion tween and shape tween to 
counter this problem. 

The shape and motion tween feature 
allow the user to set a starting and 
ending position or shape for an object. 
All the frames in between are generated 
by Flash CS3. To do this, first create the 
keyframes and place or modify the shape 
of the objects. Then, click on Insert > 
Timeline > Create Motion Tween 
or Create Shape Tween if you 
modified the shape. 

MEDIA PLAYER 
CLASSIC ^^_ 

Media Player Classic might look 
like the old Microsoft Windows 
Media Player 6, but is in fact 
one of the most used media players 
around. At around a megabyte in size, 
the player is much more compact than 
VLC or any of the others. Let's look at 
some of the most important and useful 
features that also make MPC the player 
of choice for many. We'll be using the 
last stable release— 6.4.9.0. You can find 
it in on one of our CDs or download it 
for free from http://sourceforge.net/ 
projects/guliverkli/. 

□ Make It Default 
We've already told you why Media 
Player Classic is so good. If you want to 
have Media Player Classic as your 



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MPC can be made to play back a few selected formats 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



91 



Digital Tools I Tips & Tricks 

default video player, then click on View 
> Options. Click Formats and from 
the list, choose the formats you want 
Media Player Classic to play for you. If 
you want all videos to be played in MPC, 
click the Video button to the bottom 
right. Click OK. 

□ Fixing Audio Delay 
Sometimes we come across videos 
with some delay in audio playback. 
With High Definition focussed codec's 
like H.264, the lower end machines are 
unable to cope, and a lot of audio delay 
might be noticed. To compensate this 
delay, click on View > Options. Click 
on Internal Filters > Audio 
Switcher. Enter a value for Audio 



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□ 



MPC can be remotely accessed even through a mobile phone 



Playlist 

When you're viewing 
more than one video, you 
would want to be to queue up 
videos. Press [ Ctrl] + [ 7] 
to enable the playlist or click 
on View > Playlist. Drag 
and drop videos from your 
folders into this window. While 
watching a video, pressing 
[ Page Up] loads the next 
video in the playlist. [ Page 
Down] does the opposite. 



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access http : / / YOUR . MACHINE 
. I P : 1 3 5 7 9 (or whatever port you set) 
through a web browser. A couple of 
alternate Web interface links can also be 

used that are present on that 

page. 

If you access MPC using a 

remote, under Options click 

on Keys and check the box 

for WinLIRC and uICE-you 

may require a 

compliant remote 

control though. 



□ 



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Subtitles 

Media Player Classic has supported 
subtitles for quite a while now. However, 
there are a few changes to the Tenderer 
that need to be done before you can 
actually view them. Click on View > 
Options. Choose DirectShow VMR7 or 
VMR9 (renderless). Click OK and restart 
Media Player Classic. Now open the movie 
you want to watch. Click on File > Load 






□ 



Fixing audio playback delay doesn't need you to have media 
authoring tools 



Shift in ms (milliseconds). Enter a 
positive value to have the audio delayed 
or a negative value to have the video 
delayed. Click OK. 

□ Boosting Audio 
If the audio in a video isn't loud 
enough even after increasing all the 
Windows volume control sliders to the 
max, you can have Media Player Classic 
boost it even further. Click on View > 
Options. Click on Internal Filters 
> Audio Switcher. Drag the boost 
slider to increase the volume. Be aware 
that these changes can create very 
drastic changes in the volume so be 
cautious while setting the amount of 
amplification. Playing back any media 
with normal amount of amplication 
might result in very loud audio. 



Saving 
Screenshots 

Ever had a moment on 
video that you would 
love to capture but 
never knew how— 
[ Print Screen] 
almost always results in 
a black screen. MPC allows you to 
capture single screenshots by 
clicking on File > Save Image. 
Select from BMP or JPG, enter a file 
name and click Save. If you want 
thumbnails from the entire video clip, 
click File > Save Thumbnails. Enter 
a filename and the number of rows and 
columns you want. Click Save. An image 
sheet with the thumbnails and 
information on the video file will be saved 



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□ 



□ Control From A Web Interface 
Media Player Classic has inbuilt 
components that allow you to use a 
remote control or even remote access it 
through a Web browser. For Web-based 
remote access go to View > Options 
> Player > Web Interface. Click 
on Listen on port to enable it. You 
can change the port as well if you want 
something easier to remember. Now 
from a remote PC or even if you have a 
mobile phone with access to your PC, 



Modes 

When you aren't watching a video in 
full screen mode, you can have it running 
as a window on one corner of your screen. 
Pressing [ 2] disables the playback 
progress bar. The best thing to do if you 
want a video playing back while you're 
doing something else— say browsing or 
chatting is to press [ 1] . This disables all 
the title and menus bars and only shows 
the video. Move the window to the position 
of your choice and press [Ctrl] + [ T] . 
This puts the MPC window on top of all 
other applications. If the window is too big 
in size, press [ Alt] + [ 1] / [ 2] / 
[3] / [ 4] for different preset sizes. You 
can also set a custom size by clicking and 
dragging the edges of the window. Pressing 
[ 3] brings back the default MPC layout 
and [Ctrl] + [ T] again will disable 
the On Top mode. 



Subtitles can be downloaded and viewed through Media 
Player Classic 



Subtitle and point it to the subtitle file 
you have downloaded. Start the movie 
and the subtitles will be displayed. 
You can customise the way the 
subtitles are rendered. Go to View > 
Options > Subtitles > Default 
Style. Here you can set the subtitles 
settings such as the position, font, colour, 
transparency, etc. 



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k Shortcu 


ts 


Play/Pause 


Spacebar 


Stop 




Volume Up 


Up arrow 


Volume Down 


Down arrow 


Full Screen 


Alt + Enter 


Mute 


Ctrl + M 


Boss key 


B 


Zoom In 


Numpad 9 (Page Up) 


Zoom Out 


Numpad 1 (End) 


Increase Width 


Numpad 6 


Decrease Width 


Numpad 4 


Increase Height 


Numpad 8 


Decrease Height 


Numpad 2 


Center view 


Ctrl + Numpad 5 



4 



92 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




Questionable 
licenses and truant 
uninstallers-all 
dealt with right 
here! 



E-mail us your computing 
problems along with your 
contact details and 
complete system 
configuration to 
sos@jasubhai.com, 
and we might answer 
them here! Since we get 
many more mails per day 
than we can handle, it 
may take some time for 
your query to be 
answered. Rest assured, 
we are listening! 



Yes, I Know, I Know! 

I often get the low disk notification message on 
one of my drives. Since I am all too aware that 



a 



the drive is full, it's a major irritant! 



Durgesh Sharma 



Open the Registry Editor. Go to the key 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Sof tware\ 
Microsof t \ Windows \Curr en tVersion\ Poli 




Illustrations Harsho Mohan Chattoraj 



cies\Explorer and look at the DWORD value 
NoLowDiskSpaceChecks. (Create it if it doesn't 
exist.) Set its value to 1. Exit the Registry Editor 
and reboot for the change to take effect. 

Coding The Load 

rTT] When I try to install Windows XP on my PC with 
I^J Windows 98, 1 get the following error: 

NTLDR is missing 

Press any key to restart 

Shamit Rahi 



This problem can occur if a current Windows 
ME or 9x installation was cloned from a hard 
drive with a geometry different from that of your 
current drive. This results in a mismatch of writ- 
ten values, which is ignored in Windows 9x and 
ME; Windows XP/200x/Vista have an issue with 
this, though. Still, this can be corrected: 



E Restart the computer using a Windows 98 

startup disk. 
E Make a backup copy of the Msdos.sys file in 

the root directory of your system drive. To do 

this, type in the following commands at a 

command prompt: 

attrib -h -r -s c:\msdos.sys 
rename msdos.sys *.bak 
E At a command prompt, type sys c : to 

rewrite the Windows 98 startup code with 

accurate information. 
E Restart into Windows 98, and then try to 

install or upgrade to XP. 

Brand Recall! 

The PC I bought has Internet Explorer and 
Windows Media Player with the title bar 



a 



displaying the name of my system integrator. I want 
to get rid of this. 

Shalini Desai 



Launch the Registry Editor and go to the key 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Sof tware\ 
Microsof t\ Internet Explorer \Main (for 
Internet Explorer). Modify or create the String 
Value called Window Title, and give it a value 
equal to what you want it to be— say, your name. 
If you just remove it, it'll default to "Microsoft 
Internet Explorer", getting rid of the name of 
your system integrator. 

For WMP, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ 
Sof tware\Policies\Microsof t. Click on the 
key WindowsMediaPlayer. Modify the String 
Value TitleBar (or remove it to get back to 
the default setting). 

The Famous Disappearing Act 

My XP Taskbar has disappeared. Help! 

Vishwas Rele 



This can happen if the Windows settings 
for a user account get corrupted, so you'll 
need to start your computer in Safe Mode. 
Select the Administrator and enter the admin- 
istrator password. Click Yes to close the 
message that states that Windows is running 
in Safe mode. Right-click My Computer and 
select Manage. In the list called Computer 
Management (Local), expand Local Users and 
Groups. Right-click the Users folder, then 
select New User. Type in the username and 
password where needed, then confirm the 
password. Untick the User must change pass- 
word at next logon checkbox. Click Create, 
then Close, and then quit the Computer 
Management window. Restart Windows 
normally and log on as the new user. The 
taskbar should reappear. 

Switch Glitch 

My computer shows my partitions as follows: C: 
Seagate primary; D: Samsung primary; E: and F: 
Seagate extended; G:, H: and I: Samsung extended; J: 
CD-ROM. I have set up the Seagate as the primary 
master and the Samsung as the primary slave. I have 
installed Windows 98 on C: and XP on E:. When I 
removed my second hard disk, I couldn't boot into XP, 
as the E drive swapped with D. What should I do? 

Chinmay Godbole 



a 



94 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Anti-Bogus-Anti 

My computer is infected with WinAntivirus Pro 2007 
and PestCapture, which I had installed thinking they 



a 



were anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. I later learnt 
about them being bogus... how do I remove them? 

N Venugopal 



Download these programs to your desktop and install 
them: SmitRem from http://noahdfear.geekstogo.com, 

SmitFraudFix from http://siri.geekstogo.com/SmitfraudFix .php, 

RogueRemover from www.majorgeeks.com/ RogueRemover 

_d5360.html, HijackThis from www.merijn.org/files/hijackthis. 

zip, and CCleaner from www.ccleaner.com. 

That done, reboot into Safe Mode. Open the SmitRem 

folder and double-click RunThis.bat to start the 

SmitRem removal procedure. Next, open SmitFraudFix 

and choose to search (option 1) and clean (option 2) and 

run a full system scan to remove anything it finds. Then, 

run RogueRemover. 

While still in Safe 

Mode, run 

CCleaner. Analyse 

and clean the files 

it finds, then click 

on the Issues 

button and Scan 

and Fix any Registry 

issues CCleaner 

discovers. Run both 





the Registry Scanner and the File Analyzer 
until nothing more is found. 

Run Hijackthis and Remove any leftover 
issues. Do not delete anything with 
Hijackthis unless you are absolutely sure what the file is 
and what it does. For items in the Hijackthis log like the 
following, which will not get deleted manually, use 
KillBox (killbox.clickhereformoreinfo. com) to browse to the 
location of the file and delete it or delete it on reboot. 
Items that are impossible to remove unless using Killbox 
usually show up in the "20" section of Hijackthis, for 
example: 

02 0— Winlogon Notify: msupdate— 

C: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\msupdate32 .dll 

O20— Winlogon Notify: winrir32— 

C : \ WINDOWS \ SYSTEM3 2 \winr ir 3 2.dll 

02 0— Winlogon Notify: dvd4free— 

C : \ WINDOWS \ SYSTEM3 2 \dvd4 free . dl 1 

Reboot into normal mode. Scan your computer using 
online virus checkers such as those at www.kaspersky.com/ 
virusscanner and http://security.norton.com/sscv6/default.asp? 
productid=sarc&langid=ie&venid=sym. Also download, install 
and thoroughly scan your system using a spyware 
removal tool such as Spybot Search & Destroy from 
http://spybot.clickhereformoreinfo.com. 

As a matter of general practice, always install and use 
an anti-virus program, update it regularly, and never 
disable it (even when certain programs ask you to do so), 
especially when you are online. 



This happens because the settings in the 
boot.ini file are no longer correct, now that 
you have removed the Samsung drive. What you 
can do is edit boot.ini. To do this in Windows 98, 
at a command prompt, type in cd\ and press 
[Enter] . Now type Edit boot . ini and press 
[Enter] . This will open the boot.ini file, which 
will display partition information. Here, you 
need to locate the Windows XP partition string. 
It looks like this: 

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)parti- 
tion(l) \windows="Microsof t Windows XP 
Professional" /fastdetect. 

Take the digit next to the partition tag; 
subtract 1 from it, and save the file. You should 
now be able to boot into XP. 

My Computer Boasts Of No Floppy 

I run Windows 2000 Professional. Recently, my 
floppy drive stopped showing up in My 
Computer. All the other drives display correctly. 
Under Floppy disk controllers, in the Computer 
Management console, it says that the drive is work- 
ing properly. What is the problem? 

Vaibhav Shinde 



a 



The BIOS doesn't seem to detect your floppy 
drive. Check the CMOS settings and see if 
the floppy drive is visible. Ensure that the CMOS 
is set to "Halt on all errors" and also check that 
the BIOS' "Report the floppy drive to the OS" 
setting is enabled. Another reason could be 
drive letter conflicts caused by software such as 
RAMdisk. The TweakUI PowerToy, available from 
www. microsoft . com /windowsxp/down- 
loads /powertoys /xppowertoys . mspx, can 
also cause drive letters to be hidden in Windows 



Explorer and My Computer. If you have it 
installed, go to the Control Panel and double- 
click on TweakUI. In the My Computer tab, 
select the checkboxes of the drives shown as 
hidden. Click Close and restart. 

Beating The Heat 

I have a Celeron 1.2 GHz, a Mercury 815e 
motherboard, an 80 GB hard drive, and 256 



a 



MB of SD RAM. The problem is that my heat sink 
gets really hot (I can feel really hot air blowing 
towards my hand when I place it next to the heat 
sink), and as a result, the PC hangs or restarts. 
The CPU fan is working fine, but the BIOS setting 
doesn't show its rpm. I have another case fan, 
and the BIOS reports its speed. Is there a prob- 
lem with my motherboard? 

Piyush Lore 



You first need to make sure the CPU fan is 
working properly. Open your cabinet and 
make sure the fan rotates easily. Make sure the 
heat sink and fan blades are free from dust. 
Use a paint brush to clean these. If necessary, 
remove the fan and heat sink, clean them thor- 
oughly, re-apply thermal paste and fix them 
back on to the CPU. To make sure it's a heating 
problem, you can try running the CPU with 
the same heat sink and fan on another moth- 
erboard. Another factor due to which the BIOS 
may not be reporting the rpm of the CPU fan 
correctly could be the CPU fan cable not being 
connected to the proper connector on the 
motherboard. Check for this. If all is in order 
and you still have an issue, you will have to opt 
for an external CPU fan kit, which will cost 
between Rs 200 and 300. 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




HOW TO 



Use GoogleTalk To Chat With Yahoo! And MSN Buddies 

Tired of having to use two messengers to chat with all your friends? Here's how you can 
convert GoogleTalk into one unified chat client 



Jayesh Limaye 



^ Add a contact 

<: *\ New b I a nk m essa g e 

f*] Seivke Discovery 

§j Join Groupcbat 

^ Account Setup 

^ Options 

__ Transfer Manager 

i£* Change prof ite 

^ Configure Toolbars 

^ Play sounds 



O Help 
J3 Quit 



With loads of online buddies from all 
over the planet, all of us have been 
forced to use either multiple instant 
messengers or unified clients like 
Pidgin (formerly GAIM) to keep in touch 
with everyone. With MSN and Yahoo! 
joining hands, some of our woes were 
reduced. However, with the introduc- 
tion of GoogleTalk, and its subsequent 
jump in popularity, we find ourselves 
back to square one. What's more, you 
can chat using GoogleTalk right from 
your browser, when you access your 
GMail account. 

Recently, GoogleTalk opened up 
their chat protocol to Jabber networks, 
which now makes it possible for 

GoogleTalk users to chat 
with their buddies on 
AIM, MSN, Yahoo and 
ICQ. Here is how it can be 
achieved. 

The resources 
required for this are Psi— 
a free Jabber client, which 
can be downloaded from 
http://psi-im.org, and 
GoogleTalk, which can be 
downloaded from 
http://talk.google.com. 
Install these two chat 
clients and proceed to the 
next step. 

Launch Psi and in 
the "Add Account" 
window (which will 
launch if you 



Select Account Setup in Psi 




Add your Google Talk account 



96 



are using Psi for 
the first time), 
enter Google 
Talk as the 
Name and do 
not check the 
box next to 
Register new 
account. Click 
Add. Alternatively if you have already 
been using Psi, you can right-click on 
the Psi icon in the System Tray, go to 
Psi and select Account Setup. The 
Account Properties window will show 
up and here you should enter your 
full Gmail address including 
"@gmail . com" into the Jabber ID 
field. Tick the "Automatically connect 
on Startup" and "Automatically recon- 
nect if disconnected" boxes. 



atf Piir Account Properties 



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Save 



Google Talk Account setup properties 

Click on the Connection tab. Check 
Use SSL encryption (to server). The Port 
field will automatically change to 5223, 
which is normal. Check the "Ignore 
SSL warnings", "Allow Plaintext 
Login", "Send Keep-alive pack- 
ets (for NAT timeouts) " and 
"Manually Specify Server 
Host /Port : " boxes. Enter 
" talk . google . com" in the Host field 
and leave the port as 5223. If you have 
trouble connecting, use port 443 instead. 

To get 



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Connection properties 



online, just 
right-click on 
your account 
name in the 
main window, 
go to Status 
> Online. 
Now right- 
click on the 
account name 
again and 
click Service 
Discovery. 

You now need to find a Jabber transport 
server that will help communicate 
between GoogleTalk and non-GoogleTalk 
chat applications. A good place to start 
this search is The XMPP Federation at 
https://www.xmpp.net/ servers and Open 
Jabber Servers at 

http://www.jabber.org/user/publicservers. 
shtml. We used the server jwchat.org (or 
you can use talkonaut.com), since it had 
transport servers for AIM, ICQ, Yahoo as 
well as MSN. Enter this name into the 
Address field (initially containing the 
name gmail.com) and click on Browse. 
You will see a list of transport servers 






Goegit 1 *fc 
13 1 *"~ I 



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p±*i> jwchri ike 



1 rb i 



I q™ 



Subscribe to RemoteCalendars 



1^4 Registration: yahoo.jwchat.org 



Itf U:^l 



Registration for "yahoo j wchat .chtj": 

Enter your YAHOO! Messenger Usemame and Password to 
registe r with the gateway. 



Usemame | 
Password \~_ 



Pb I 



Register 



Qose 



Register other IM services as well 



being populated in the box below. 

To set up your IM account, right-click 
on one of these servers and select 
Register. Enter your user name and pass- 
word for the service selected and click 
Register. Psi will ask you to confirm all of 
your newly transported contacts in your 
Google Talk account. After this is done, 
they'll all be automatically available 
through your Google Talk account. You 
will even be able to add buddies from 
that service, right from your GoogleTalk 
client. To confirm this, open GoogleTalk 
and you will find all the contacts from 
the other service inside GoogleTalk 
buddies list. To add a friend from 
another service, just make sure that you 
follow the format screenname© trans- 
port server_name . dns_name— if 
the Yahoo ID of your buddy is testacc@ 
yahoo . com, and jwchat . org is the 
transport server, you should add the 
contact from within GoogleTalk as 
testacc@yahoo . jwchat . org. 

There have been reported cases of 
unreliability of quite a few transport 
servers, but we found that two 
mentioned above are quite stable. You 
should also know that when you use a 
transport client, you trust your informa- 
tion to a third party server, which you 
may not like if you are very particular 
about your privacy. El 

jayesh_limaye@thinkdigit.com 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



A Sound Solution 

I have a Pinnacle PCTV Rave TV-Tuner, and my 
computer has Windows XP Pro SP2. I want to 



record TV programs in WMV, DivX, as well as the 
MPEG-2 formats, but the software provided with the 
card does not support it. I have tried to use third- 
party PVR programs such as InterVideo WinDVR, but 
it does not capture sound. 

Ajay Tiwari 



The Pinnacle PCTV Rave TV Tuner encodes 
TV audio right on the board, and there is 
no loop-through cable that goes to the line-in 
of the sound board, as is usually the case with 
most TV-Tuners. That's why the audio does not 
work with InterVideo WinDVR, since it does 
not feature an option to use internal TV audio. 
There are some programs such as ChrisTV 
from www.chris-tv.com and BeyondTV from 
www.snapstream.com that support such TV- 
Tuners (with on-board audio chips) and also 
allow you to capture in the WMV, DivX, and 
MPEG-2 formats. 

Anti vs. Anti! 

I had installed McAfee Antivirus from your CD 
for a trial run, then uninstalled it and returned 



to my older Norton Antivirus. The problem is that 
Windows Security Center says I have the above two 
antivirus programs running. 

Paramjeet Singh 

Right-click on My Computer and click 
Manage. Expand Services and Applications 
and click on Services. Find the Windows 
Management Instrumentation service, right-click 
it, and choose Stop. Open My Computer, then go 
to (assuming Windows is installed on C) 
C: \Windows\System32\WBEM\Repository. 
Delete it. Return to the Windows services screen; 
find Windows Management Instrumentation, 
right-click on it, and choose Start. Restarting this 
service will rebuild the repository folder infor- 
mation. Restart your computer. Windows 
Security Center should be fine. 

Video's Not On The Cards 

I have an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 graphics 
card. The problem is that the display goes 
blank after entering Windows, even when I have 
installed the official WHQL drivers. When I booted 
using my onboard graphics, I got a message that 
read something like "the display device driver was 
unable to complete a drawing operation. Please 
check for a driver update." I downloaded the latest 
drivers from NVIDIA, but the problem persists. My 
PC configuration is an AMD Athlon XP 2100+ CPU 
and 512 MB DDR RAM on an ASUS A7N266VM moth- 
erboard and I have Windows XP Professional SP2. 

Vinay Chaudhary 



A device driver conflict seems to be at play. 

Here's what you can do: Boot your system 
while using the onboard video card, then unin- 
stall all the video card drivers. If possible, use 
System Restore to get back to a time when the 
computer was working fine, and then uninstall 
the display drivers. Now, reboot and get to the 
BIOS. Go to the Advanced Options, and look for 
the PCI display menu. Under VGA BIOS, change 




the adapter to AGP VGA. Save the settings, shut 
down the computer, and install the new video 
card. Reboot and install the display drivers. Your 
issue should be resolved. Alternatively, start the 
machine in Safe Mode; right-click on My 
Computer and select Properties > Hardware > 
Device Manager and expand the Display adapters 
option. Right-click on each entry under display 
adapters, and select Uninstall. It is imperative 
that you install only the latest drivers for the 
motherboard, and also to ensure that your BIOS 
is up to date. Check at the motherboard manu- 
facturer's Web site for this. 

The Un-dead! 

I uninstalled a program, but the Add/Remove 
Programs applet still shows the entry for it. So 



how do I get rid of it? 



Akhilesh Srivastav 




Open the Registry Editor and navigate to 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE \ 
Microsof t\ Windows \CurrentVersion\Unin 
stall. You can find the entries related to the 
uninstalled program in the right pane. Just 
delete them. 

Installing An Installer! 

have Windows XP. I get the Windows 
Update Error 0x80070420 while trying to 



update Windows. 



Irfan Sheikh 



First, Check to see if you have Windows 
Installer 3.1 installed: go to Control Panel 
Add /Remove Programs, search the list of 
programs for Windows Installer 3.1. If you find it 
there, uninstall it, then reboot and install the 
program; if it's not there, you're fine; just install 
it. The program (Windows Installer 3.1) is at 
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx7fa 
milyid = 889482fc-5f56-4a38-b838- 
de776fd4138c&displaylang=en. Reboot and then try 
and do the Windows Update, m 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I Agent 001 . _ _„ 

— Agent 001 

Sweet Memories 

AgentOOl recounts his recent memory shopping spree 



Motherboards and Processors this month! 
There's another component that works 
as hard as your processor most of the 
time— and is even more important as a limiting 
factor a.k.a. bottleneck to performance. Yes, I'm 
talking about good old Random Access Memory. 

There's only one real memory standard today 
and that's DDR2. DDR is officially dead, and 
nobody is using it for new PCs, not even value 
PCs. DDR2 had initial teething issues with per- 
formance—mainly due to higher latencies, but 
all those have been ironed out, and the sheer 
bandwidth DDR2 offers over DDR is significant. 
DDR is still available in the market— but it's 
mostly older stock, since manufacturers have 
stopped making it. As a result, DDR memory is 
very expensive now— and those who need it for 
older systems will face the simple market reality 
of demand and supply. I found DDR memory at 
prices roughly twice that of DDR2 in Lamington 
Road, and the prices fluctuated from dealer to 
dealer— although many dealers flatly stated they 
didn't stock DDR any more. 

DDR2 is available in mainly two speed 
options-DDR2 667 and DDR2 800 MHz frequen- 
cies. The higher frequencies (1000 and 1066 MHz) 
are very expensive, and do not justify the pre- 
mium. What I came across in shops was mostly 
value RAM. This is basically RAM based on 
cheaper memory chips, the characteristic being 
slower speeds and higher latencies. Enthusiast 
memory will have higher speeds at lower laten- 
cies but typically requires higher voltages to 
operate (1.8V is the default for DDR2), 
which means your board should sup- 
port moderate overvolting. 

Generally, higher-performance 
(read enthusiast) memory— which per- 
forms better with demanding appli- 
cations—typically has heat spreaders 
on the memory strip. I must caution 
all our readers: some manufactures 
are resorting to the cheap tactic of 
putting attractive alu- 
minium heatsinks on el 
cheapo value memory, and 
vendors call this "high per- 
formance" memory, and 
you'll subsequently be 
charged 500 to a thousand 
bucks more for nothing 
more than eye-candy! Look at 
the latency figures to base a 
purchase decision on, and not attractive 
heatsinks. If you're buying DDR2 667 MHz, 
look for latency figures of 4-4-4-12. For DDR2 
800, timings should be 5-5-5-15 at the most; 
anything more and your memory is going 
to be slow irrespective of the frequency. For 

DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




DDR 400, 3-3-3-8 should suffice. (Lower timings 
are better.) 

I nowadays recommend 2 GB of memory. 
Two reasons: your PC will speed up in general, 
and Vista— which is a memory hog. And you 
don't want to bottleneck a good processor and 
decent graphics card, do you? RAM is the 
expressway in your PC and handles data traffic- 
more is always good, although as of now you 
won't see any significant gains with more than 
3 GB, and 2 GB is the sweet spot for Windows XP. 
I was searching for a 2 GB kit for a friend 
who's upgrading from a 1 GB kit. The most 
common brands for DDR2 memory available are 
Transcend and Kingston. 1 GB of Kingston DDR2 
667 MHz memory costs Rs 1,450, and Transcend 
is some 100 bucks more. Both manufacturers 
offer "lifetime" warranties, which equates to five 
years in the case of both vendors. This is a three- 
year replacement warranty plus a two year 
repair warranty. A 2 GB kit will cost you around 
2,750 bucks (Transcend has a 2 x 1 GB kit). The 
slightly lower price for a 2 GB kit means you're 
getting more value for money for buying more 
memory! Corsair value RAM is also available at 
Rs 1,700 per GB— dual channel kits are just shy of 
the 3,500-rupee mark. Dynet is one of the locally- 
available brands, and is available for as little as 
Rs 1,300 per GB. Digital, another local brand 
retails at Rs 1,250 per GB— terrific value for 
money, but I'd rather pay 300 bucks more for 
blissful peace of mind. 

DDR2 800 MHz is a little more expensive, but 
worth it if you're going for faster components. 1 
GB of DDR2 800 RAM will cost you around 2,000 
bucks— both Transcend and Kingston are avail- 
able for nearly the same price. What's worth a 
mention is, the price fluctuates as well— 
for example, 1 GB of Transcend DDR667 was 
Rs 1,650 last week, this week it was 1,450. It 
could go up next week! 

DDR3 is available, too, but prices are so 
restrictive at the moment that you're 
better off with faster DDR2. I don't 
expect DDR3 to make big inroads into 
DDR2, at least for another year. Only 
one big vendor had stocks of DDR3 
from Corsair, and the 2 GB dual- 
channel kit (two sticks of 1600 MHz 
memory) was priced at Rs 23,000. A 
serious premium which I think is 
totally uncalled for. 

I ended up buying a 2 GB Transcend 
■ \ kit (DDR2 667) for 2,750 bucks-a superb 
\xCQJ deal for my friend who had paid 3,500 
bucks last year for his 1 GB kit! m 



Want more of Agent 001? Turn over to read his 
answers to your buying questions 



Illustration Chaitanya Surpur 



Widening Horizons 

I want to watch HD movies, and I have a maximum 
budget of Rs 15,000 for a monitor. What do you 

suggest? What resolution? What does "diagonal dot 

pitch" mean? 

Viral 

/' ^jj) I'd suggest you opt for a 22-inch LCD mon- 
~^itor, which will be very suitable for 
widescreen applications such as HD movies. A typ- 
ical 22-incher has a native resolution of 1680 x 
1050 pixels (an aspect ratio of 16:10). 

Dot pitch represents the distance in millime- 
tres between two adjacent phosphor dots in the 
case of a CRT or pixel cells in the case of an LCD. 
The smaller this value the better, because there 
will be more dots in a given area— leading to a 
crisper image. For a 19-inch monitor a dot pitch 
of .26 mm is usually the norm, although this 
figure goes up for larger monitors. 

A Burning Question 

Please suggest a DVD-Writer for me. I currently 
have a Sony DRU-710A. I bought it back in Jan- 



Ask Agent 001 



a 



uary 2005; now, after extensive use, it seems to have 
gone kaput-it fails to read and write properly. 

Abhirup Chaudhuri 

( ^jj) All DVD-Writers are pretty much similarly- 
~~ ^ priced— I don't think a couple of hundred 
bucks will be a big deal for anyone. I'd suggest Lite- 
On's latest 20x DVD burner-the LH-20AlP-which 
should be priced at about Rs 1,750. If you want a 
Sony burner, the Sony DRU-830a is available, 
priced at Rs 1,650. 

A Laptop-Specs Laid Down 

I'd like to purchase a laptop for personal use. I 
want a good graphics solution and a 14.1-inch 



a 



screen. I am also looking at 2 GB of memory. What are 
my options? 

S Mitra 

j§h I'd suggest the Dell Inspiron 1420 series. It 
^ has a 14.1-inch screen and offers a Core 2 
Duo processor and 2 GB of memory. Also optional 
is the GeForce 8400GS graphics solution, which is 
decent. The best part is, you can configure the 
laptop to your specific needs— of course, this scales 
with price. The starting price is around Rs 40,000. 

Nokia For Signal Quality? 

I want to buy a cell phone for between Rs 13 and 
14K. What's most important is signal quality and 



connectivity with a laptop (Internet via GPRS). Media 
playback and camera is not of primary importance, but 
of course, it wouldn't hurt! I'd prefer a Nokia. I could go 
with another brand, but it should have more features 
than Nokia. 

An u rag 

( ^jj) In case you're absolutely set on Nokia, I'd 
— recommend the N70ME-about Rs 11,000. 
The N73ME is a lot more future-proof as far as 
GPRS connectivity goes, and will cost approxi- 
mately Rs 15,000. Note that these are street prices, 



Want a tech product, but 
don't know how to go 
about buying it? E-mail 
agent001@thinkdigit.com 
with your complete 
contact details, and he 
might answer them here! 
Please note that 
AgentOOl only answers 
purchase-related 
questions in this space. 



■ Digital Tools I Agent 001 

and that the N73 (the non-music edition) will be 
around 1,500 bucks cheaper. 



One Upgrade Forces Another... 

I bought a new GeForce PCI-E 8600 GTS graphics 
card, but later realised that my motherboard does 



a 



not support PCI-E. I now want to buy a new mother- 
board that supports PCI-E, DDR2, and Core 2 Duo. I 
have a budget of Rs 18,000 for processor, mother- 
board, and a GB of RAM. So what would be a good buy? 

Harsh it Syal 

% Take a look at Abit's IP35, I'd say. This 
Aboard should be priced at Rs 8,500. It's 
based on Intel's latest P35 chipset, and will sup- 
port the upcoming Penryn family of processors. 
For the processor, I'd say a Core 2 Duo E6550 (2.33 
GHz)-around Rs 7,500. For the RAM, I'd suggest 2 
GB in lieu of 1 GB— the performance boost is 
worth the price. 2 GB of DDR2 800 MHz memory 
would cost you Rs 4,500, while DDR2 667 MHz 
would be a thousand rupees cheaper. 

It's Touch Vs. Tap 

What would be a good PDA for Rs 20,000? I've 
homed in on two candidates. One is the Dopod 



a 



HTC Touch, and the other is the 02 XDA Atom Exec. 
Which one would I should buy, with my preference 
being finger touch rather than a styius? 

Rohan MathewChungathil 

The Dopod HTC Touch allows you to 
« finger-swipe, similar to the iPhone. How- 
ever, it's definitely not finger-operable for typing, 
jotting down notes, etc. In fact, no PDA is. Besides 
the touch feature, I found the 02 XDA Atom very 
feature-rich— more so than the Touch, which is 
definitely more gimmicky. In terms of operation, 
they're both pretty much the same. If you're keen 
on the finger swipe feature, then go with the 
Touch, else stick with the XDA Atom. 

Get With The Times! 



I am buying a PC with the following configuration: 
Intel Core 2 Duo X6800, Intel original mother- 
board D975 XBX 2, 2 GB DDR 2 667, ASUS EN8600GT. 
My budget is Rs 65,000-70,000. What cooling 
system and PSU should I opt for? Please also say if I'm 
getting the best of my budget, or if some changes 
should be made to the configuration. This will be used 
for gaming on Windows XP SP2. 

Jyotirmoy 

, ^J) You're buying old hardware. I wouldn't rec- 
~~ ^ ommend the 975X chipset to anyone, so 
we've excluded that chipset from our mother- 
board test. For a budget of 65,000-70,000, I'd rec- 
ommend getting a motherboard on the lines of 
an ASUS P5K Deluxe, which will cost about Rs 
14,000. Instead of the X6800, opt for the E6850, 
which is slightly faster and runs cooler and, not to 
mention, is much cheaper. The money you save on 
the processor can be used for a better graphics 
card, say an 8800GTS 640 MB-look for brands such 
as Leadtek and XFX. I should also say that 2 GB of 
RAM is good enough for gaming, m 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



99 



Digital Tools I A-List 



External Portable Hard 

Drives 

WD Passport Portable (Black) 

IB Excellent performance, good 

value 
HNone in particular 

Contact Champion Computers 
Pvt Ltd 

Phone 011-26214751 

Web site www.championindia.com 

Price Rs 6,500 



Internal DVD-Writers 

Lite-On LH-20A1P 

IB Fast performance, 20x 

writing to DVD+R and DVD-R 
HNone in particular 

Contact Mediatech India 

Distribution Pvt Ltd 

Phone 022-26361111 

E-mail digit© 

mediatechindia.com 

Price Rs 1,700 



Digital Cameras 

(High-End) 

Canon PowerShot A570 IS 

IB Good overall performance 

H Lacking in macro 
performance 
Contact Canon India Pvt Ltd 
Phone 1800-345-33-66 
E-mail info@canon.co.in 
Price Rs 13,995 



Graphics Cards (High-End) 
Galaxy GF8800Ultra 

IB Sheer performance 
E Heats up 

Contact Technology and Gadgets 

Phone 022-23823331 

Web site 

www.technologyandgadgets.com 

Price Rs 35,000 





Internal SATA Hard Drives 

WD Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 

IB Value for money, 

performance 
HNone in particular 

Contact Champion Computers 

Pvt Ltd 
Phone 011-26214751 
Web site www.championindia.com 
Price Rs 4,500 



Internal SATA Hard Drives 

WD Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 

IB Fast transfer speeds 
HNone in particular 

Contact Champion Computers 

Pvt Ltd 
Phone 011-26214751 
Web site www.championindia.com 
Price Rs 7,500 



m The A-List fH 



Wi-Fi Access Points 
Linksys WAP54G 

IB Great performance 
H None in particular 

Contact Ingram Micro India Pvt Ltd 
Phone 9323112279 
E-mail sunil.z@ingrammicro.co.in 
Price Rs 3,816 



MP3 Players up to Rs 4,000 

MobiBlu DAH-2100 

IB Good performer 
H Tiny screen for video 

Contact J.J.Mehta & Sons 
Phone 022-24306356 
E-mail info@jjmehta.com 
Price Rs 4,000 



5.1 Speaker Sets 

Artis S6600R/FM 

IB Good performance, radio 
HNone in particular 

Contact Kunhar Peripherals Pvt Ltd 
Phone 022-66345758 
E-mail mail@kunhar.com 
Price Rs 8,500 





Digital Cameras 
(High-End) 

TECH-COM DSC-524X PLUS 

IB Good features and 

performance 
H Average macro performance 

Contact Shree Sagarmatha 
Distributors Pvt. Ltd. 
011-26428541 
techcom@airtelbroad- 
band.in 
Rs 5,250 



Phone 
E-mail 



Graphics Cards (Mid-range) 

ASUS EN8600GT 

IB Well priced, fast 
HNone in particular 

Contact Asus Technology Pvt Ltd 

Phone 022-67668800 

Website http://in.asus.com 

Price Rs 8,800 



Price 



The best products tested so far in different 
hardware and software categories 



MP3 Players up to Rs 10,000 
Sandisk Sansa e250 

IB Good performance, 

feature-rich 
H Tacky scroll wheel 

Contact Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd 
Phone 022-67090909 
E-mail navinderc@ 

rptechindia.com 
Price Rs 8,150 



Processors 

Intel QX6850 Core 2 Extreme 

IB Extreme performance 
H Expensive 

Contact Intel Tech India Pvt Ltd 

Phone 9833823474 

E-mail saranya.rustagi@intel.com 

Price Rs 52,000 



Projectors 

Acer PD726W 

IB Great overall performance 

H No remote sensor at rear 

Contact Acer India Pvt Ltd 
Phone 9880544226 
E-mail alankar_s@acer.co.in 
Price Rs 1,35,000 



LCD Monitors (19-inch) 

AOC 197S 

IB Good looks and performance 
H Gloss finish catches smudges 

Contact AOC India 
Phone 1800-425-4318 
E-mail info@in.aocmonitor.com 
Price Rs 12,000 





LCD Monitors (17-inch) 

AOC 177V 

IB Good performance 
HNone in particular 

Contact AOC India 
Phone 1800 425 4318 
E-mail info@in.aocmonitor.com 
Price Rs 9,800 



72 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Tools I A-List 



Desktop PCs 
Sahara 20CK16 

IB Great performer 
H Slightly bulky 

Contact Sahara Computers & 

Electronics Ltd 
Phone 0120-4397777 
E-mail info@saharacomputers.co.in 
Price Rs 40,000 



Intel P35-based 
Motherboards 
ASUS P5K Premium 

IB Excellent enthusiast solution 
H Expensive 

Contact ASUS Technology Pvt Ltd 
Phone 022-67668800 
E-mail mediajndia@asus.com 
Price Rs 15,870 





AMD AM2 Motherboards 
Gigabyte GA-MA69G-S3H 

OB Well built, feature rich 
HNone in particular 

Contact Gigabyte Tech India Ltd 
Phone 022-30616666 
E-mail sales@gigabyte.in 
Price Rs 6,900 



Intel Integrated Graphics 
Motherboards 
Gigabyte GA-G33-DS3R 

IB Very good layout 
H Expensive 

Contact Gigabyte Tech India Ltd 
Phone 022-30616666 
E-mail sales@gigabyte.in 
Price Rs 9,500 



Home Inkjet MFDs 
Canon PIXMA MP160 

IB Good performance 

H No memory card reader 

Contact Canon India Pvt Ltd 
Phone 1800-345-33-66 
E-mail info@canon.co.in 
Price Rs 5,995 



Mono Laser MFDs 
Brother MFC-7420 

IB Great cost per page, fax 
HNo Ethernet Port 

Contact Brother International India 

Pvt Ltd 
Phone 1800 222 422 
E-mail customercare@brother.in 
Price Rs 18,000 




PCI TV-Tuners 

Leadtek Winfast PVR2000 

IB Excellent video quality and 

software 
H Expensive 

Contact Topnotch Infotronix (India) 

Pvt Ltd 
Phone 044-42042565 
E-mail naqui@zebronics.net 
Price Rs 5,500 




Mono Laser Printers 
HP LaserJet 1020 

IB Good combination of speed, 
print quality, and warranty 

H A bit slow in comparison to 
others 

Contact Hewlett-Packard India 

Sales Pvt Ltd 
Phone 0124-2566111 
E-mail kakuni.mahto@hp.com 
Price Rs 6,999 



Multimedia Phones 
RS 12,501 to RS 20,000 
Sony Ericsson CyberShot K790i 

IB Great all round 
BCam slider flimsy 

Contact Sony Ericsson Mobile 
Comm. India Pvt Ltd 

Web site www.sonyericsson.com 

Price Rs 12,500/- 









1 1 1 1 



Up to 12,500 
Nokia 6300 

IB Great screen, build 
H Hard joystick 

Contact Nokia India 
Web site www.nokia.com 
Price Rs 11,489 



PDA Phones Above Rs.25K 
Nokia Communicator E90 

IB Extremely powerful 
H Heavy, bulky 

Contact Nokia India 
Web site: www.nokia.com 
Price Rs 40,499 




Up to 12,500 
Samsung SGH-E840 

IB Great build, slider 
H Keypad tactility 

Contact Samsung Telecomm. 

India 
Web site in.samsungmobile.com 
Price Rs 11,499 



Office Inkjet MFDs 

HP Photosmart C4188 All-in- 

One 

IB Good print quality 
H No fax 

Contact HP India Sales Pvt. 

Ltd. 
Phone 0124-2566111 
E-mail kakuni.mahto@hp.com 
Price Rs 7,999 



PC Webcams 
Logitech QuickCam IM 

IB Strong performer 
H Manual focus 

Contact Compuage Infocom Ltd 
Phone 022-65297356 
E-mail india_getcreative 
@ctl.creative.com 
Price Rs 1,995 




Mice 

Logitech MX Revolution 

IB Has a flywheel 
H Expensive 

Contact Logitech Electronic 

India Pvt Ltd 
Phone 022-26571160 
E-mail response@logitech.com 
Price Rs 8,000 



Performance Laptops 

HP DV6226tx 

IB Funky Looker, features 
H Needs better graphics 

Contact Hewlett-Packard India 
Phone 0124-2838700 
E-mail tapoti-t.tipnis@hp.com 
Price Rs 56,990 




NOVEMBER 2007 DIGIT 



73 



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How Technology Can Help Your Organisation 



Smart SoHo 

Learning 



Your Internet connection, 
that is... 



To Share 



Robert Sovereign-Smith 

Whatever the nature of your business, 
whether you have a three person 
team or 30,000, if you've got comput- 
ers in your office, you're going to need a proxy 
server. Now larger businesses need something 
that can handle much more traffic, and we've 
earlier recommended Squid on a Linux server 
for them. However, smaller businesses 
(between 2 and 30 computers) might not have 
the free hardware or expertise to install and 
maintain Squid. 

Most often, SoHo businesses need some- 
thing Windows-based— a tool that's easily 
installed and just as easy to maintain. This is 
because most SoHo businesses cannot spare a 
computer, so the proxy server machine is quite 
simply just another computer on the network 
that the person with the Internet connection 
uses. Now Windows can also share a connec- 
tion over the Network, but it does nothing else. 
The Windows Internet Connection Sharing 
Wizard will do nothing more than give all net- 
work computers access to your Net pipe, which 
will result in slow surfing speeds for everyone. 
Proxy server software do not just share Net 
connections; they also cache files to save band- 
width, act as a firewall, put restrictions on con- 
tent, and much more. So how does one go 
about choosing a good proxy server? The first 
step is to look for the following features: 

E The ability to run as a service: You don't 
want everyone in your office getting dis- 
connected from the Net just because some- 
one accidentally closed the proxy server 
window. 

E Caching: A proxy server that doesn't cache 
is just useless; caching helps save bandwidth 
and speed up the browsing experience. 



E 



E 



E 



User lists: In order to make sure that no 
unauthorised people are using your Internet 
connection, you need to be able to give access 
to only specified users, with authentication. 
Logging: You need to keep an eye on what 
people in your company are using the Net for; 
to make sure they aren't misusing privileges. 
Bandwidth controls and monitors: These 
will help ensure that people don't overuse 



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DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



103 



Digital Business I Smart SoHo 



bandwidth, and that will keep your bills in 
check. Some software will also let you set 
maximum speeds per client, or cut-off 
points to stop Net access when a user reach- 
es A prescribed bandwidth limit. 

Of course, software that offer all of the 
above or more will cost a bundle, or will they? 

PROXYPLUS (PROXY+) 

Proxy+ is proxy software that has both free and 
paid versions. The free version allows for three 
users (two concurrent) to use the proxy. The two- 
concurrent-user restriction means only two peo- 
ple can be using the proxy at the same time. The 
licensing price for five users is $99 (about 
Rs 3,950), for 10 users is $199 (Rs 7,900), and for 
unlimited users is $299 (Rs 11,950). You can get 
the latest version from www.proxyplus.net. 

Installing 

This is as simple as can be. Just download the 
software and double-click it. The last step in 
the setup process is important, and you should 
tick the "Install as a Windows service" to run 
the proxy in the background as a service. 

Configuring 

Proxy+ can be configured by using a browser 
and navigating to http://localhost:4400 from the 
same computer or http://<Your_IP>:4400 from 
another computer on the LAN. 

Once you get to the Proxy+ Admin page, you 
can start setting up your proxy server. Everything 
is explained, and help is available in detail from 
Start > Programs > Proxy+ > Guide, or 
online at www.proxyplus.net/doc/en/proxyguide.htm. 

In order to allow your networked comput- 
ers to use Proxy+, you need to inform them to 
change the settings in their Web browsers. In 
Internet Explorer, you'll need to go to Tools > 
Internet Options > Connections. Here, if 
you have an account name in "Dial-Up set- 
tings", select Never dial a connection. 



Using Proxy+, 
you can choose 
to only dial a 
connection when 
someone on the 
network tries to 
access a site or 
use a protocol 



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Anti-virus plugins for Proxy+ 

Then press LAN Settings... . Uncheck 
Automatically detect settings and Use 
automatic configuration script. Select 
Use a proxy server and fill the IP address 
of the PC running Proxy+ in the Address field, 
and set the Port to 4480. Instructions for 
other browsers are at the page mentioned. 

IMPORTANT CONFIG SETTINGS 

Almost everything you see when configuring is 
self explanatory, but we will list significant set- 
tings here to ensure you set up your proxy right: 



Add users 

At the Proxy+ Admin page, click on Accounts 
at the left and then on Users. Type in the 
name of at least one user, say Admin, add a 
password, and click Add. This will make sure 
that you have at least one user for the next 
step. You can come back later and add all the 
users you wish. 

Change Admin Access 

By default, Proxy+ configurations can be 
changed by anyone who navigates to 
http://<Your_IP>:4400 from any computer on 
your LAN. This is open to exploit, so you 
should change this ASAP. After making a user 
and setting a password, click on 
Administrator and then General at the left. 
Check the WWW Admin requires authenti- 
cation box, select the user from the drop- 
down, and click Save. This will force anyone 
who browses to http://<Your_IP>:4400 to enter a 
username and password to go any further. 

Restarting 

Proxy+ requires a restart after all major settings 
changes. This is because the software reads set- 
tings when it starts up— so don't be alarmed 
when you make changes and don't see the results 
immediately. In order to restart Proxy+, just go to 
Administrator > Restart, and click 
Restart. In a few seconds the page will be 
refreshed and your new settings will take effect. 

Changing Ports 

By default, Admin access is at port 4400; 
browsers need to set port 4480 to use the proxy, 
and if you set more proxies such as FTP gate- 
ways, the port is 4421, etc. All this can be 
changed, and you can choose custom ports, say 
1337 (geek for "elite") for admin and normal 
proxy ports, such as 8080, or others like 12345, 
etc., for the services. Just go to Proxies > 
General, and you will see all the settings listed 
on the right. Change these values to what you 
desire, and remember to click Save and also 
restart Proxy+ for the changes to take effect. 

Dialup 

If you are on dialup, or even broadband dialup 
(PPPoE), you don't want to leave it connected all 
the time. Using Proxy+, you can choose to only 
dial a connection when someone on the network 
tries to access a site or use a protocol. You can 
even choose which protocols activate dialling. 
Just go to Dialing > General and select your 
connection— Proxy+ will identify and list all avail- 
able connections you have here automatically— 
and click Save. To choose the protocols that acti- 
vate auto-dialling, go to Dialing > Auto Dial, 
check the boxes for the protocols that can initiate 
an Internet connection, and click Save. We rec- 
ommend you set this to only HTTP and FTP. 

Setting Mail Accounts 

This is a very useful feature in Proxy+, and it 
enables you to set the proxy server to download 
mails from POP3-enabled accounts. This results 
in a much faster experience for users, because 
when they download their e-mail into their 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Business I Smart SoHo 



mail clients, they're actually downloading it 
from the proxy server instead of from the 
Internet. The same applies to sending e-mails. 

In order to set Proxy+ to handle mail, go to 
Mail > General and set the outgoing SMTP 
server first. Choose Internet Mail Server if 
your server is an online one. Usually, just choos- 
ing your ISP's SMTP server is recommended. Next 
go to Mail > POP 3 General and check the 
POP 3 Down loader enabled box. Now you can 
go to Mail > P0P3 Download, add the Internet 
mail account for any of the local users you have. 
Add in the e-mail account, username, password, 
and select whether you want messages to be left 
on the server or downloaded. Click Save. 

After you're done adding all the accounts, 
you can restart Proxy+ to make the changes 
active. To configure your mail client, just set the 
POP and SMTP servers to the IP address of the 
computer that Proxy+ is running on. You also 
need to use the authentication (username and 
password) that is stored in Proxy+ for your user- 
name. So, if Proxy+ is installed on a machine with 
the IP 192.168.0.1, your name is Prakash Sharma, 
your e-mail address is p . sharma@yourdomain . 
com, your Proxy+ username is psharma and pass- 
word is pwd, your mail client settings would be: 

Account Name: Prakash Sharma (or any- 
thing you want) 



Using the Access 
List, you can set 
Allow and Deny 
based on the 
time of day 



prox y 1 



Back to Statue 

Dialing ... 
Proxhe& -,- 



Proxy + Restart 



You must restart i a^er program settings changed. 

If you really want to restart Proxy + then activate the Restart button. 



Remember to restart Proxy+ for major changes to take effect 

E-mail Address: p . sharma@your domain . com 
Incoming Server: 192.168.0.1 
Outgoing Server: 192.168.0.1 (providing you 
have set your SMTP server in Proxy+, otherwise 
just use your regular SMTP server) 
Username: psharma (the Proxy+ username) 
Password: pwd (Proxy+ password, not your e- 
mail account password) 

Access Lists 

If you decide that not everyone requires access to 
the proxy server, you can deny access based on IP 
addresses— for example, you might not want any- 
one in the accounts department to get Net 



access, to prevent exposure to viruses. Using the 
Access List, you can also set Allow and Deny 
based on the time of day— so, for example, you 
can allow Net access only during working hours 
(say, 9 AM and 7 PM), or even deny access to every- 
one during lunch hours (known as goofing off 
time). You can also set rules on a per-IP basis. 

First, you need to go to Access List > 
General and tick the "Enable Access List" 
checkbox. Click save and then move on to Access 
List > Obj ects. You need to read carefully if 
you want to be able to allow or deny access to 
computers or set time restrictions. Although 
what follows may look like scripting, it's not. It's 
just a logical way of telling the proxy what to do. 

First we'll look at Objects. Here you will see 
a dropdown box called New object type. If 
you want the proxy to deny the IP 192.168.0.99 
access, you need to first define that IP. This is 
exactly what you will do at Objects. 

The three types of objects that are most com- 
monly used are ClientHostName, Client IP 
and Time. If the IP 192.168.0.99 belongs to a com- 
puter called Prakash, this is the 
ClientHostName. Now to define this, you will 
add an identifier under New ob j ect name. For 
the computer Prakash, you might want to set 
the object name to say, PC 9 9, or anything descrip- 
tive that will help you identify the object. Under 
Parameter, you need to add Prakash and select 
ClientHostName from the New object type 
drop-down. When you click Add, you will see that 
it is saved in the format PC 9 9 
ClientHostName; Prakash. 

Let's say you now want to add an IP— say, 
192.168.0.125-as an Object. You need to select 
Client IP from the New object type drop 
down, enter 192.168.0.125 as the parame- 
ter, and anything descriptive that you will 
remember as the New object name— IP12 5, for 
example. This will add the line I Pi 2 5 
ClientIP; 192.168.0.125. 

You can define time similarly— for exam- 
ple, choosing the time between 11:00 AM and 
1:00 PM, and calling it Lunch would give you 
the following line in the Defined Objects list: 
Lunch = Time; 11:00-13:00. 

Once you have defined Objects, you can 
choose what the Access List does to them. There 
are four commands the List understands: Allow, 
Deny, Pass and Rewrite. The first two are self- 
explanatory. Pass is a rule that allows a con- 



FreeProxy 

Available from www.handcraftedsoftware.org, FreeProxy is, well, free! 
Made for the Windows platform, it offers all the important features that 
you want: content filtering (keyword/URL, etc.), time based access, 
user-based access control, auto-dialling, access report generation, 
caching (v3.80 onwards), a Web server, ability to run as a service, etc. It 
offers almost all the same functionality as Proxy+, and at an unbeat- 
able price-Rs 0. It's ideal for smaller companies though-10 users or 
less-according to prominent software reviewers, and seems to perform 
less efficiently as the number of users increase. Still, the software is 
still being actively and passionately developed, and FreeProxy is by far 
the most popular Windows-based proxy server. If you have 15 or less 
PCs in your company, look no further than FreeProxy. 



Squid 

If you have a PC to spare, and are familiar with Linux, you should 
definitely look at Squid. This open source proxy server is the de 
facto choice of larger businesses. With all the features you can 
imagine, stability that's unbeatable and the capability of 
handling thousands of concurrent connections without overload- 
ing the CPU, nothing beats Squid in terms of scalability. 
The only drawback for the average Indian SoHo office is the 
need for a machine running Linux-however, with Linux gaining 
popularity amongst PC enthusiasts and Digit readers, we expect 
Squid to gain a few popularity points over the years. You can 
download it, or read more about it at the Squid Web site: 
www.squid-cache.org. 



106 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Business I Smart SoHo 



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Setting the SMTP server in Proxy+ 



necting IP or user "pass" a username and password prompt without seeing 
the login screen. For example, if people connect to 
www.yourdomain.com/secret, which has a username and password 
requirement to keep people who don't work in the company out, you can 
safely do away with the login requirement from PCs within your company 

Rewrite allows you to change the HTTP request that the user's IP 
requested. Say your company domain name is www.something.net, but peo- 
ple are just too lazy— typing in something and pressing [Ctrl ] + [Enter] , 
and ending up at www.something.com. This is an unnecessary waste of band- 
width and time, and you can set the proxy server to automatically rewrite 
the HTTP request to forward to www.something.net when it is asked for 
www.something.com. This will also work when the URL asked for is 
http://www.something.com/a/b/something_else/something.php?module=blah, 
changing something.com to something.net in any URL. 

The first two Rules are all we'll ever use most of the time though, so 
let's look at how you can use these rules to Allow or Deny access. If you 
want to deny access to the IP 192.168.0.99, you will first have created the 
object IP99 = ClientIP; 192 . 168 . . 99. Then, under Access List > 
Rules, you can add the rule deny IP99. The " ! " character can be used as 
a NOT argument, so you can also set the previous rule (deny IP99) by typ- 
ing allow !IP99, which tells the proxy server to allow all IPs except for 
IP99. We'd recommend you not use this too often, unless necessary, 
because you might get conflicting rules. As an example of a more compli- 
cated rule, let's say you want to deny three employees (IPs 192. 168. 0.80, 
192 . 168 .0.81 and 192 . 168 . . 101) access during Lunch hours (11:59 AM 
and 1:00 PM): First create the objects... 

IP80 = ClientIP; 192.168.0.80 

IP81 = ClientIP; 192.168.0.81 

IP101 = ClientIP; 192.168.0.101 

Lunch = Time; 11:59-13:00 

...then add the following line to the Access List Rules box: 

deny IP80 IP81 I Pi 01 Lunch. 

These examples should help you set up any rules that you need to. If 
you get confused, remember to look at the help file. 

Plugins 

The most important plugins available for Proxy+ are those that allow it to 
work with various anti-virus software to scan e-mails. You can access 
these by clicking on the Back to Status link, and then clicking on Plugins. 
Check the Use Plugins box, then click on Plugin Settings. You can see 
which plugins are available by clicking Registered Plugins. Here you'll 
find Avast4, AVG6, MP3 Saver, NOD32, and more. You can also add more. 

Finally Setup 

Once you're done with all this, your proxy should be ready to use. There 
are many more settings we've omitted for lack of space, so you should def- 
initely take the time to read the help files thoroughly to learn how to use 
it better. Make sure you try the free version of Proxy+ before you decide 
to buy it. Regardless of whether you choose to use this software or one of 
the others mentioned in the box Alternatives, the basics of using a proxy 
server remain unchanged, so all the above should apply to them as well- 
only terms and nomenclature of features will differ. Now go save band- 
width and time and install a proxy server for your company! m 

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107 



Digital Business I Smart Business 



Get Noticed, Get Clicked 



There are no 
shortcuts to 
currying favour 
with search 
engines, it seems 



AbeyJohn 



With more than 135 million Web sites 
out there, you've got your job cut 
out to get your Web site in front of 
surfers. Search engines have long 
been recognised as a good source of visitor traffic, 
and over the years, Search Engine Optimisation 
(or SEO as its popularly called) has developed into 
an active, dynamic industry in its own right. 

A Little History 

If you still think stuffing keywords into the meta 
tags of your Web pages are what will push you up 
the rankings in the SERPs (Search Engine Results 
Pages), this is a wake-up call. You've been sleeping 
and "keyword stuffing" is about as dead as it can 
get. The Net has moved on, and how! The practice 
of keyword stuffing originated in the '90s when 
Webmasters found that search engines gave spe- 
cial weightage to the META tag of HTML pages 
(right-click on a Web page and view its source, 
and inspect the <meta> HTML tag near the top). 
This was in the days when bandwidth and hard- 
ware were still at a premium. Canny Webmasters 
began stuffing keywords into their meta tags, 
which pushed them up in the SERP rankings. 
Search engines quickly caught on, compensating 
for the skew in the results, and ever since it has 
been a game of tag between the search engines 
and the SEO industry. SEO consultants discover a 
way to gain an edge in the rankings; the search 
engines move in and plug the hole. 

What Search Engines Do 

These days, most search engines look at multiple 
factors in determining a Web site's ranking in the 
search results. Some are known, most are 



unknown. The search algorithm is the secret 
sauce that drives the accuracy of the search 
results, and is therefore one of the most closely- 
guarded secrets. Each search engine has a differ- 
ent set of factors to determine rankings. Google, it 
is rumoured, uses more than 200 data points! The 
others (Yahoo! and Windows Live are the main 
ones which matter these days) are not far behind. 
One of the known factors that play a role in 
determining the rankings in Google is PageRank. 
This is a score that Google assigns to a Web site 
on a scale of 1 to 10. A higher PageRank gives you 
higher weightage. PageRank itself is determined 
using "...more than 500 million variables and 2 
billion terms." (http://www.google.com/corpo- 
rate/tech.html). And like PageRank, there are 
other hundreds of other factors that go into 
determining the ranking in the SERP. 

Black Hat Vs. White Hat 

Even with these many factors to juggle around 
with, some Webmasters resort to using deceptive 
practices in an attempt to fool the search engines 
and push up their ranking. This using of decep- 
tion—and techniques that attempt to fool the 
search algorithm— is known as Black Hat SEO, and 
search engines have special filters that monitor 
for known Black Hat techniques. If you are look- 
ing for long-term recognition and are building a 
quality Web site, Black Hat SEO is just not the way 
to go! Search engines penalise sites that knowing- 
ly or unknowingly use Black Hat techniques, and 
this can include suspension or even complete 
removal from the search engine's listings. 

Case in point: the German Web sites of 
BMW and RICOH were removed temporarily 
from the search listings for using deceptive 
techniques. They were only restored after they 
addressed the issue. 







Digital Business I Smart Business 



Deceptive techniques can be broadly classi- 
fied into two types: those that try to fool the 
search engines, and those that try to fool human 
searchers. For example, the title of a page may 
read "Free Software Download." This will be dis- 
played in the search results if the Black Hat SEO 
for this page is successful. However, when the 
user clicks on the link, it takes them to a page 
where they are served more ads to click on— and 
with absolutely nothing to download. Search 
engines are aware of such techniques and com- 
pensate for them. They have become increasing- 
ly efficient— though not perfect— at detecting 
Black Hat SEO. As time progresses, the cost of 
Black Hat SEO is going to far outweigh the cost of 
following legitimate practices in making your 
Web site search-engine-friendly. 

White Hat SEO, on the other hand, employs— 
or at least tries to use— only non-deceptive tech- 
niques. The qualification "tries to" stems from 
the fact that there is a certain amount of grey 
area in what Webmasters and SEO consultants 
consider legitimate optimisation and what the 
search engines agree on. Early on this year, there 
was a spate of sites that sprang up offering paid 
reviews from bloggers. This seemed a good idea, 
especially for little-known sites who wanted to 
piggyback on the popularity of an established 
blogger. That's until Google declared paid 
reviews (and their links) might get penalised or 



...search engines 
not only monitor 
the search 
results page, but 
also monitor user 
behaviour for a 
given search 
term. 



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Search 



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Google does not bring up IWantADate.co.uk for "I want a date" (which is what you 
might enter if you do!)-though that is the most obvious first result. Yahoo! brings it 
up right on top, so Google probably implements "aging delay" with more strictness 



removed from search listings. 

Black Hat works on the assumption that they 
will eventually be caught by the search engines 
and are ready to move on. There is a law of 
diminishing returns in operation, as search 
engines get increasingly efficient in proactively 
detecting Black Hat sites. Eventually, we expect 
to see the practice minimised to only those die- 
hard tech criminals with enough resources 
(time, money, and determination) to use Black 
Hat as a part of a larger scam operation. 

White Hat works with the sole objective of cre- 
ating a sustainable ranking in the search engine 
results. Again, this is not bullet-proof: search 
engines are constantly refining their algorithms 
to keep up with the latest developments that 
impact what users want to search for. These days, 
search engines not only monitor the search 
results page, but also monitor user behaviour for 
a given search term. That is, if site A was ranked 
number 1 on the SERP but users regularly clicked 
on site B, the number 2 link, then site B would 
move to the number 1 position. Add to this the 
fact that search is getting more and more person- 
alised. Google, according to what can be inferred 
from patent filings, will customise the SERPs 
based on geographic location, similarity of search 
patterns with other users, membership on certain 
Web sites or forums that are discoverable by the 
Googlebot (the search engine spider software that 
crawls and indexes Web pages), and other factors 
that would, in aggregate, group you with a specif- 
ic set of users who have similar interests. 

For example, if you start using Google 
Finance, Google will start serving financial infor- 
mation in the SERPs. If you are, say, a regular par- 
ticipant at Digit's forum (http://www.th inkdigit. 
com/forum/) and you run a search, Google will 
look at similar searches from other users in the 
Digit forum and try to guess what will interest 
you. Of course, this is a simplified example. Your 
actual profile will be much more complex, and 
grouping you with users with similar tastes will 
involve much more. This is, of course, very good 
for the user: relevance improves. 

But this kind of complexity is a nightmare for 
SEO practitioners. You can be forgiven for think- 
ing that even White Hat SEO is more voodoo than 
an art or a science. Fortunately, there are some 
published guidelines, and over the years, the SEO 
industry has matured enough to be aware of 
some basic best practices that can help you in 
achieving the rankings that you feel you deserve. 

SEO Basics 

Determining a specific SEO strategy for your Web 
site will depend on a number of factors that are 
beyond our scope here. These include things like 
at what stage your Web site is— whether it's a start- 
up or an established site, what your industry is, 
your target audience, as well as what type of con- 
tent you have on your site. If you are an e-com- 
merce site, you might need to follow certain opti- 
misation techniques like exposing your product 
catalogue and making it easy for the search spi- 
ders to index the product pages. Here, we look at 
the basics that will give you a general idea of what 
you need to do stay on the good side of the search 
engines. Even if you are not interested in SEO, you 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



109 



Digital Business I Smart Business 



might still want to pay attention to these guide- 
lines which, at the very minimum, will ensure 
that you don't accidentally get blacklisted. 

While all these techniques are applicable 
to some degree to the Big Three (Google, 
Yahoo!, and Windows Live), the emphasis given 
by each will vary. To a large extent we have 
kept Google in mind, considering that they 
hold the largest market share. 

Content Relevance 

Content is still king. Nothing increases your 
search engine rankings like relevant, on-topic, in- 
context content. All the other factors you need to 
pay attention to will carry no weight if you do not 
have relevant content. Even if you have a poorly- 
designed site, but with content that is useful to 
your visitors, search engines can be very forgiving 
and push you up the rankings, especially if a lot 
of other Web sites link to your site referring to it 
as an authority in the specific subject area. 

Linking 

Link Popularity is one of the main criteria in judg- 
ing the relevance of a site. This is based on the 
assumption that if you have good, high-quality, 
authoritative content, more people will link to 
you. This might give some the idea that many 
dummy sites linking to your site can artificially 
inflate your rankings. Not any more. Search 
engines have wised up to this technique— known 
as link farming— and will actually penalise you if 
they detect that you're using link farms. What 
counts are organic links, that is, links to your 
sites by other sites that are in context. 

Search engines not only count the links to 
your site but also look at the surrounding words 
to identify the context in which the link is 
placed. For example, if you are running a motor- 
bike forum and you are linked to from a tech 
blog, a plain link to your Web site in the links 
section will carry less weight than if you were 
mentioned in a blog post. Of course, the excep- 
tion is if a number of bloggers link to your 
forum, and a large percentage of them are pas- 
sionate bikers with posts on biking. Secondly, 
the "anchor text" for the link also plays a part in 
determining the value of the link. "Check this 
out" will have less weightage than "Check out 
Rajesh's Motorcycle Forum". The link anchor text 
"this" is less descriptive and of insignificant con- 
text when compared to "Rajesh's Motorcycle 
Forum", and hence will have lesser value. 

Of course, you have no control over how a 
blogger or another Web site will link to you, but 
you can at least do some groundwork (run a 
search for link:yourdomain_dot_domain 
extension in Google) and politely request the 
Webmasters or bloggers you can reach if they 
would be so kind as to edit the anchor text. 

While link farming is dead, there is still 
some life left in "reciprocal linking." This is 
where you agree with another Web site to 
show their links on your Web site in 
exchange for linking to your site. Note, how- 
ever, that this should be done intelligently, 
or you might run foul of the search engines 
and get blacklisted. Stick to sites and blogs that 
are in topic and context with your site. Linking 



Nothing 
increases your 
search engine 
rankings like 
relevant, on- 
topic, in-context 
content. 




from a site on, say, Ayurvedic medicine will have 
no value, and links from many such non-rele- 
vant sites may end up getting treated as link 
spam, attracting penalties and even blacklisting. 

One other technique is to participate in other 
forums, write articles for other Web sites, and/or 
leave comments on blogs. You may use these to 
provide links to your site, but ensure that the 
links are in context and provide value to the con- 
versation. If you simply pop into a comment 
thread and say "Hey, check out my motorcycle 
forum" and leave a link, you will quickly get 
flagged for comment spam. Look for articles or 
blogs on motorcycles (our example) and leave an 
intelligent comment linking to a thread in your 
forum where they discussed the same issue— or 
something similar. 

Links (and therefore the site it is linked to) 
gain value in other ways too: 
E the older they are, 
E if they are located higher up on a page than 

towards the bottom, 
E if its part of the content (higher value) as 

against it being in a collection of other links 

like in a business directory listing (lower 

value), and 
E if the link is from an authority site on the 

subject. 

While all these links are something you have 
no direct control over, what you can ensure is 
that you have relevant on-topic content that cre- 
ates the environment that will influence others 
to link to your content. 

W3C Compliance And Site Structure 

The one cardinal rule that all search engines 
insist on is that your Web site be primarily 
designed for humans and not search engines. The 
easiest way to do this is to bring your site into 
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) compliance. 
The W3C is the standards body that defines devel- 
opment standards for Web technologies, and 
making your site W3C-compliant will give you a 
boost in the rankings with at least one of the 
search engines (Yahoo!). There are many valida- 
tion tools that you can use to find out how com- 
pliant (or non-compliant) your Web site is. A basic 
"validator" for individual Web pages is available 
at http://validator.w3.org. 

Bringing your site into W3C compliance is 
hard. The upside, though, is that when used in 
combination with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), 
you can get a much cleaner and better-perform- 
ing site. In addition, from an SEO perspective, 
the actual content will move up higher in the 
page code and hence be treated as more valu- 
able by the search engines. 

From a pure SEO perspective, compli- 
ance is not the holy grail to climbing up the 
SERP. The objective behind attempting to 
become compliant is that it ensures that 
the copy is marked up so that it is "clear" 
to search engines. Achieving compliance 
also ensures better compatibility with 
mobile devices, with less chances of the 
the code not working in mobile browsers. 
In any case, the point is to minimise errors 
rather than seek to achieve full compliance 
overnight. 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Digital Business I Smart Business 



Often, search engines do not crawl very deep 
into your site; you can remedy this by submitting 
your site and the deeper pages in your site direct- 
ly. Go to http://google.com/ Webmasters/tools for 
Google, http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com for 
Yahoo!, and to http://search.msn.com.sg/docs/sub- 
mit.aspx for Windows Live. Also, create a site map 
based on the XML Site Map standard— which is 
supported by the Big Three and others. There are 
many free tools that can quickly generate an XML 
sitemap of your site (search for "XML Sitemap 
Generator"). Create a folder called M public_ 
html" in the root folder of your Web site, put the 
sitemap xml file there, and submit the URL of the 
xml file to the search engines. This way, the spi- 
der will crawl the entire site and index all the 
pages. One added benefit is that when your site 
does come up as the first result in SERPs, it will 
automatically show the internal links under the 
main result heading, making it easier for users to 
quickly reach your internal pages faster. 



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Results for "packers movers india". The result pages are chock full of permutations of 
those keywords! While this may seem to work, you could be penalised 

Formatting And Keyword Density 

While we did imply at the outset that META tags 
are no longer relevant, it still carries a little 
weight. The meta tag of a page indicates some 
basic information about your page. For example... 

<meta name="Description" con- 

tent="Website for Indian Motorcycle 
Fans . " /> 

<meta name="Keywords" 

content="india, motorcycles, hero honda, 
bajaj, bullet, royal enfield " /> 

...is an example of a good meta tag. The key- 
words can, of course, be expanded, but ideally 
should be kept to the bare minimum and only 
include those important words that appear in 
the content. In addition, ensure that the Title 
tag of your page corresponds to the title of the 
content of the page. This informs the search 
engine that your Web page is what it claims to 
be. 

You can also use different fonts and format- 
ting for specific keywords. Search engines will 
give different weightage for words that are bold- 
ed or underlined, and will give different weigh- 
tage for bolded or underlined links. Needless to 
say, this has to be in context. You can't bold all 
the text! The search engine will take this as the 
standard formatting for the page. 

The formatting you apply should be prima- 
rily designed to inform the human reader of 
different levels of emphasis that you wish to 
apply. Also, for images, include anchor text (alt 
text) that gives a description for the image 
rather than just the image name. 



In addition to applying formatting that can 
help increase the weightage of your pages, you 
should also keep keyword density in mind. The 
keyword density is the ratio of the total number 
of keywords to the total number of words. There is 
no magic number for this; it keeps changing con- 
stantly and may be different for different indus- 
tries. One way is to run a search with the key- 
words and look at the density in the top 10 sites in 
the SERP and determine a density somewhat mid- 
way between the highest and lowest values. You 
might want to do the same for the keywords 
themselves— see what the competition is using! 

Now for the bad news. While optimum key- 
word density may not be given a great deal of 
weight by the search engine, too high a figure 
for keyword density can attract penalties— search 
engines may rightly or wrongly suspect you of 
keyword stuffing. 

Keep your keywords focused. If you are a 
packer and mover in India, keep your words lim- 
ited to "packer mover india"; Google, in any case, 
clumps words with similar meanings together. 
You might consider using related keywords like 
"point-to-point shipping", "door delivery", etc. 

Site And Page Age 

This is a simple but important metric. The 
longer the site has been running and the longer 
the page has been up, search engines give it a 
better ranking on the assumption that you are 
not a fly-by-night operator and have really some- 
thing useful to say. The same can be said for 
links. The longer someone links to your page, 
the more it gains in value. 

The search engines apply, to varying degrees, 
an aging delay on new Web sites. This is based on 
the assumption that sites are trying to game the 
search algorithm, and they are progressively 
removed over a period of time. From an optimi- 
sation perspective there is nothing you can do 
about it but wait. So if your pages do not start 
appearing in the search results straightaway and 
you are a fairly new site, you know why! 

Going To The Professionals 

The SEO industry being what it is, there are as 
many con artists as there are genuine practition- 
ers of the craft. In most cases, by simply focusing 
on delivering great content and by following the 
basic rules to prevent you from get blacklisted— 
along with some light PR linking activity in rele- 
vant blogs and forums— will enable your site to 
gradually rise up the rankings. However, if you 
need results, and fast, you should turn to an SEO 
Professional. A true SEO consultant can deliver 
superior results to what you could achieve on 
your own. However, given the prevalence of so 
many con artists who make your contract contin- 
gent on specific benchmarks, you need to define 
the search keywords that you wish to rank in, 
specify the ranking range that you want to 
appear in (if they promise to deliver number 1 
ranking, politely thank them and slam the door 
in their face), and specify the time period that 
this must happen in. Only after you define at 
least these three metrics should you even consid- 
er inking a deal, m 

readersletters@jasubhai com 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



111 





Sivaramakrishnan 
Kalyanaraman 

Vice President-HR 
Intelligroup, Inc. 



w: 



44*T A y e believe that basics and foundation are mandatory for 
success. These cannot be achieved through crash courses. 
Crash courses pander to people's insecurities, and we 
believe that better candidates would not be attracted to them. We give 
relative weightage of 50:50 to qualifications held and the skills 
possessed by an applicant— both are equally necessary. Formal 
education provides the foundation for the concepts that can be built 
upon in the corporate world. 

"Standardised tests give us a uniform benchmark for us to assess all 
candidates. Variations in the curricula of different universities will thus 
be compensated for. 

"From a candidate with experience, we expect solid basic concepts, 
understanding of the workspace, working in a team and lateral thinking. 
We also expect the person to understand the requirements of the client 
and work with customer delight in mind. We look for people with good 
adaptability and learning abilities, and believe that good performance at 
work can erase the deficiencies of academic performance. 

"Today, the requirement to demonstrate skills is already gaining 
importance, and will continue to do so." 




Bookworm Or 



Do skillsets possessed merit over qualifications? We asked IT industry bigwigs and found out the 
current trend 





Shamit Khemka, 

CEO, 

Synapse Communications 

Pvt. Ltd. 



A 01 



ny educational degree which is 
obtained from an accredited 
institute has weight, and given 
preference not only in the government 
sector, but in the private sector as well. Many 
private institutes have mushroomed recently, 
some of which follow the basic principle of 
earning money rather than adding desired 
value to the candidates. 

"If a candidate has formal qualifications, it 
tells us that he / she has grown up to that 
level, which works a launching pad to take 
him further. That is why at the time of 
recruiting, the requirements clearly state that 
formal education is required to go ahead. 

"Standardised tests, according to me, 
would work better if candidates have already 
taken the first flight— formal education. 

"For a regular position, we go through a 
formal assessment through interviews, 
written test, HR interviews, reference checks, 
etc. On-the-spot hiring is limited to campus 
recruitment only. 

"At Synapse, we value knowledge and 
skills, but a formal education is an essential 
requirement. Once candidates are hired, 
what really matters is their performance, 
and academic scores take a back seat. 

"Formal education can give you a 
launching pad, but it's your grit and 
performance that will enable you to take-off." 



112 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




Joe Lazar 

Director-HR 
Analog Devices India 



£ £ "y t is important to insist on formal qualifications and certifications, 
I because employers are competing with global talent, so you need 

X to hire the best. This could be very specific more to a Product 
Design company than IT services company. 

"You need both formal education and suitable skills to progress. 
Standard- or industry-specific tests checks for skills that are needed for 
specific employment where as college / university tests are needed to test 
academic skills. 

"At Analog Devices, formal education and basic skills are equally 
important. Basic skill sets are the foundation on which every assignment 
is built. Formal education gives you the tools and techniques to perform 
your job better, and is also important for you to excel in your domain. 

"In our case, good performance, skills and academic record all go 
hand in hand. In very rare instances, candidates with poor academic 
record have shown great performance. 

"I foresee that in the years to come, it will still be important that 
demonstrations of skills will be equally important as academic 
achievements." 



Veteran? 




Sumeet Sabharwal 

Managing Director 
NaviSite Inc. 



~~ l ormal education still remains a strong criterion for getting 
|H through the application-screening stage. At NaviSite, we focus 

i less on qualifications once the candidate has been through the 
conventional pre-screening process. The minimum requirement to pass 
the pre-screening process is graduation. The qualifications held by 
candidate represent two things— maturity and commitment by doing a 
degree course. 

"Conducting standardised tests would help— depending upon who 
conducts them, how they are conducted, what degree or level of 
knowledge is expected, and whether it's done by a trusted body. We'd be 
pleased if they're conduct at a level that is something similar to the 
Common Aptitude Tests (CAT). 

"We give 30 per cent weight to qualifications held and 70 per cent to 
basic skills like analytical capabilities and logical reasoning for 
programming. Competency has to be proven by going through the 
technical test exercises that precedes the aptitude and personality 
exercises." 



Shrikant Kulkarni 

Sr. Vice President-HR 
KPIT Cummins 
Infosystems Ltd 



ormal education is necessary for anyone who aspires to enter 
|H the IT industry. At KPIT Cummins, formal qualifications are the 

A^ basic criteria to enter in the primary round for recruitment, and 
also an important benchmarking tool for filtering the applicants. 

We give 30 per cent weight to the formal degree held by the 
candidate, and the remaining 70 per cent to skills possessed. This 70 per 
cent is further classified for different aspects like communication skills, 
knowledge of domain and industry, aptitude, and so on. 

"After passing the technical interview, aptitude and personality tests, 
candidates are graded on a scale of 1 to 5 on the basis of their overall 
performance and we look for those who are above average. 

"For specific requirements, we give programs or assignments to check 
whether candidates can show us satisfactory results. Here too, above 
average performers are selected. 

"All the skills acquired by a person during the academic period are 
tested on the job, and those who prove themselves go further. At the 
end of the day, however, it's the performance of the individual that 
tells the real story." 

As told to Samir Makwana (samir_makwana@thinkdigit.com) 



NOVEMBER 2007 DIGIT 



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132 



No News Is 
Good News! 



sire 



Technology Beyond Work 



Touched by Tech 



At Sea No More 



Entrepreneurs 
are taking 
substantial steps 
towards using 
technology to 
help those who 
till the soil and 
harvest the sea. 
The information 
is there; it needs 
to be delivered 



Prakash Ballakoor 



India is— sit back and think about it— a booming 
economy, an IT hub, a business outsourcing 
hub, and has an extremely high mobile 
subscriber growth rate... and is also a country 
where farmers kill themselves out of monetary 
debt and poor fishermen mark their graves at sea. 
The economist will tell you that waiver of debt 
or providing subsidies is not the way out for the 
farmer. The weatherman will tell you that fore- 
casting is not enough to warn the fisherman at 
sea. So what can be done to help farmers and fish- 
ermen, two classes with shared problems? Tech- 
nology can help: it need not only be for the 
middle class. It is about supplying the right infor- 
mation at the right time, making the unpre- 
dictable more predictable. 

It's About Information 

If our farmers need to harvest the benefits of a 
booming economy, they need information: 
accessible and affordable, timely and 
customised, usable, searchable, and up-to-date. 
Large sections of society— mostly rural folk— do 
not have access to the huge knowledge base 
built by scientific development. The content is 
not in the local language, and not deliverable in 
a form of immediate use to them. For example, 
a monthly farming magazine cannot report 



the likelihood of a pest infestation in the 
weeks to come. 

A Portal To The Rescue 

Understanding this need for the exchange of infor- 
mation from and to rural communities, a multi- 
lingual, multimedia-based agriculture portal 
called aAQUA (www.aaqua.org) was launched late 
2003 by the Developmental Informatics Lab of IIT 
Bombay in collaboration with the Krishi Vigyan 
Kendra (KVK) (Agricultural Sciences Outreach 
Centre) at Baramati (Maharashtra) and Vigyan 
Ashram at Pabal (Pune district). There are several 
KVKs across the country. 

aAQUA, short for Almost All your Questions 
Answered, attempts to help the farmer who 
does not have access to expert advice. 
Addressed here are farmers' queries based on 
location, season, weather, and crop, and other 
such information that farmers or their agents 
and representatives provide. 

How It Works 

The farmer (many a time illiterate or semi-liter- 
ate) puts forth his question regarding his crop or 
livestock with the help of a local computer oper- 
ator at an Internet cafe, commonly referred to as 
an Internet kiosk, as or through a literate farmer 
who has an Internet connection at home. There 
are relevant forums on the portal he can access 
for this purpose. The portal supports Hindi, 




Digital Leisure I Touched By Tech 



Marathi, and English as of now. Experts from 
Krishi Vigyan Kendra— Farm Science Centre, 
which provides training skills on scientific farm- 
ing practices for farmers and the rural youth in 
Baramati, then answer the questions. 

The portal also maintains a repository of ques- 
tion and answers. Upon registration, one gets 
details such as the weather forecast for the loca- 
tion. If a farmer cannot post a question online or 
e-mail it (to aaqua@persistent.co.in), he can SMS it. 
Industrial (agriculture-based), financial, and legal 
advice is dispensed. aAqua experts say that once 
they receive a question, they are time-bound to 
reply within 48 hours. 

The Extras 

Other than providing expert answers, aAQUA 
provides an online digital library called Crop 
Doctor, which displays images related to crop 
disease. Farmers can identify relevant photo- 
graphs and look for control measures. A library 
of seasonal crop recommendations by experts 
from KVKs can be found under the Crop Recom- 
mendations. Even updated prices of agricultural 
commodities in different markets of Maharash- 
tra, collected by the Agricultural Produce Market- 
ing Committees (APMC), can be located under a 
section called Bhav Puchhiye. 

A multilingual meaning-based search engine 
called Agro Explorer allows the user to search for 
content in a local language (though the site 
currently supports English, Hindi, and Marathi), 
and view the document in that language irre- 
spective of the language of the original document. 
aAQUA's architecture is designed in such a way 
that it allows users to navigate and search 
through all aAQUA forums even when connectiv- 
ity is disrupted. The information repository on the 
local computer gets updated whenever Internet 
connectivity is established. 

In the past year, the aAQUA portal has seen 
5,760 posts and about 6 lakh views. From 
incpetion, questions have been received from 290 
of India's 600 districts. 

In Their Footsteps 

Following aAQUA's success, a new social 
venture firm came up, based out of IIT 
Bombay's Business Incubator. The team behind 
it comprises Anil Bahuman, Dr Krithi Ramam- 



ritham, Dr Kadarbhai, Dr Yogesh Kulkarni and 
Dr Bishnu Pradhan. This social venture, called 
Agrocom, goes a step further: unlike in aAQUA, 
a farmer need not visit an Internet kiosk for a 
weather update. 

Agrocom realised that though aAQUA has 
been a success, there were more issues that 
needed to be addressed. For information from 
aAQUA, farmers needed to walk miles to get to 




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An e-mail report from Agrocom contains charts indicating various weather parameters 
ranging from dewpoint to relative humidity 

an Internet kiosk; and what with villages being 
plagued by power outages or low voltages, 
making it difficult to install and run PCs. Agro- 
com addresses these issues by sending out 
timely weather reports and disease and pest 
warnings— to farmers and farming organisa- 
tions that have subscribed to the service— using 
SMS text. When more detailed information is 
needed, Agrocom uses e-mail. 

The Returns 

Agrocom has realised about Rs 9 crore in savings 
for farmers in the past 11 months of operation. 
The cost per month for a weather forecast is Rs 
100, and for a disease alert, it's about Rs 250. For 
e-mail-based weather forecasts for an organisa- 
tion, the charges are Rs 800 per month per 
village. More than 300 farmers have subscribed 
to the SMS service. 




Digital Leisure I Touched By Tech 



Information through e-mail is more elabo- 
rate—it includes reports of humidity, solar radia- 
tion, air temperature, precipitation, leaf wetness, 
and dew point. 

Farmers use disease forecasts to plan a preven- 
tive spray schedule. This drastically reduces crop 
damage due to insects and diseases. This is also 
good for the environment, as it means fewer 
pesticide residues in the crop. And now, given the 
growing consumer awareness of pesticide 
residues and the premium that consumers are 
willing to pay for farm produce with low-level 
residues, farmers can demand better prices in the 
domestic as well as export markets. 

Agrocom also offers bulk purchase of SMS 
credits, which are then distributed to farming 
organisations and KVKs. Agro universities and 
KVKs buy these services so that they can interact 
with the farmers and forward relevant informa- 
tion, they depend on government grants for this. 

Agrocom also supports infrastructure-build- 
ing projects, providing consultancy and support 
to farming organisations that want to install 
automated weather stations for purposes of farm- 
level disease forecasting, weather record valida- 
tion for weather insurance, and weather forecasts 
for decision support. Agrocom's predictions have 
been shown to have an accuracy level of 80 to 90 
per cent, based on random surveys. 

Mobile At Sea 

The M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation 
(MSSRF), a Chennai-based research body that 
works on agricultural and rural development as 
a part of community service, has been providing 
weather information to a fishing village called 
Veerampattinam, and a neighbouring village, 
Nallavadu, since 1992— and has been saving fish- 
ermen's lives. But since the announcement is 
through a public address system at 3 AM (when 
fishermen venture out) there is no way to 
communicate sudden changes in weather when 
the fishermen are out at sea. MSSRF therefore 
developed a simple solution to address the issue: 
use the cell phone. 

QUALCOMM, a pioneer in CDMA communi- 
cation technology, and actively involved in vari- 




Once we 
complete the 
trial phase, we 
will work with 
our ecosystem 
partners to 
identify the 
business 
opportunities 
and financials" 

Parag Kar 
Senior Director 
Government Affairs 
QUALCOMM India 





Fishermen included in the trial phase of QUALLCOM's service using the Fisher Friend 
application while out at sea 



ous social projects the world over, partnered 
with MSSRF and developed a user-friendly 
mobile application, called Fisher Friend. It has a 
user-friendly interface and provides vital, real- 
time information to fishing communities— 
anytime, anywhere— at the press of a button. 

The application, developed by Indore-based 
Astute Systems Technology, on the BREW (Binary 
Runtime Environment for Wireless) platform— 
QUALCOMM's open solution for wireless applica- 
tions development and device configuration- 
allows users to access information through an 
interactive menu. It allows fishermen to know if 
it is the right time to venture out to sea; it provides 
vital updates like the location of fishing shoals, 
risks, and fish trade information in the local 
language (Tamil at present). The information 
channels the energy of fishermen in the right 
direction, optimising time and fuel. 

Satellite images are the basis for the informa- 
tion regarding weather and fish concentration; it 
is accumulated in a centrally-located server at 
MSSRF. This information is then analysed by 
MSSRF, and sophisticated technical information 
like sea wave heights is processed to make it 
usable. The processed data is sent to Astute to be 
encoded for the BREW platform. The project is 
now in the trial phase, and involves 10 fishermen 
using Tata Teleservices in Veerampattinam. 
Created in Tamil, the appication will be first rolled 
out in places where Tamil is understood. 

The service is available in the 10 to 15 kilo- 
metre range within domestic waters, which 
covers about 80 per cent of fishermen's require- 
ments. Extending this limit is not possible 
because regulations do not currently permit 
mobile communication in international waters. 

Parag Kar, senior director, Government 
Affairs, QUALCOMM India and SAARC, says, "Pric- 
ing for the service at the moment has not been 
decided. Feedback from the fishermen is being 
collected to enhance the application in terms of 
user-friendliness and how far it is reflective of the 
needs of the fishing community. We have 
finished with phase zero (of four) and we are in 
phase one, which will be completed by the end of 
2007." Going by media reports, the application is 
likely to be perfected by November of this year, 
and will be deployed on about 100 phones across 
the coast. It is also reported that QUALCOMM is 
working on incorporating GPS capabilities into 
the phones so the exact location of the phone can 
be tracked, and so that rescue becomes easier in 
the case of a disaster. 

Why Not? 

The technology is all there, but only a few rural 
entrepreneurs take it to a stage where those as yet 
unempowerd by that technology can use it. We 
must not forget that technology is not for and by 
the middle class alone. If we can have IT parks, we 
can have services such as those we've discussed 
rolled out all over the country... and that would 
benefit not just the farmer and the fisherman; we 
would all benefit in return— individually and as a 
nation. Certain ideas— such as "the illiterate 
cannot use technology"— must be wiped out. After 
all, tech enhances life, wherever, whoever. El 

prakash_ballakoor@thinkdigit.com 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




The Final Conflict 



Is old-school back? 



We can hear you saying, "No! Not 
another world war title, enough 
already!" Actually, I missed the beta 
and I'm glad I have my hands on the final ver- 
sion. It's been one of the games many have 
been waiting for all year. The single-player 
storyline goes along the lines of how the 
Soviet Union tries to take over American cities 
and US forces try their best to hold them back 
and take back whatever little they can. 

The controls here are completely differ- 
ent from those in most RTS games. You 
move the camera like you would move a 
player. Whereas WASD would be used for 
attacks or making units, here you use those 
keys to move in different directions, and 
the mouse scroll to move up and down. The 
training session has an obstacle course for 
you in which you move your camera view 
through hoops. It takes a while to get com- 
fortable with the change, but they really 
get you into the action. 

Single-player gameplay is simple, and 
has the typical primary and secondary 
styled missions that are pretty easy even at 
normal difficulty. The allied troops are 
there helping you from getting your ass 
handed over almost all the time. The game 
has none of that collect 10 gold and 5 wood 
to manufacture new shiny pony nonsense 



here. What you get instead is non-stop 
chaos in which you're continuously either 
attacking or being attacked. 

The cool-down time for most of the spe- 
cial weapons and reinforcements has been 
kept lower than that in other RTSes, because 
you won't be creating any units as it is. Units 
come in the form of reinforcements that you 
order from time to time when you have the 
credits. Select two of these and three of 
those and point where you'd like them. 
Moments later, they're home-delivered. If 
you aren't careful with your spending, 
though, you might find yourself fending off 
half the Red army with two tanks. 

The maps are huge but the vehicles are 
quick. There isn't a variety of units to 
choose from; they have been kept rather 
basic, and you spend your time focusing on 
tactics. Most of the fun is to be had by doing 
special attacks such as carpet bombing, 
napalm strikes, and nukes. 

These elements all add up nicely to 
some really intense gameplay. There's even 



di3it GAMING PC 



XFX GeForce 8800 GTX, 
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, 4 GB DDR2 RAM, 
Windows Vista Ultimate x64, WD 250 GB 



more fun to be had in multiplayer, where 
you can have as many as 16 players at 
once-with voice chat as well! 

The graphics are some of the best I've 
seen in RTSes. The unique camera controls 
allow you to get really close to the action- 
and you'll see dust on jeeps' windshields and 
footstep trails of infantry in the sand. 

The maps are filled with beautiful sway- 
ing trees, brilliant shaders for the rivers and 
seas, flashing clean metal structures, and 
perfectly-tarred city highways which all make 
for a well set environment to... destroy. 

Our GeForce 8800 GTX didn't break a 
sweat at maximum settings at 1440 x 900. 
There aren't any noticeable bugs, either. 
Animations are very well done, and you can 
see this especially in the in-game rendered 
cutscenes. The sounds are great and so are 
the voice actors. 

World in Conflict is like Company of 
Heroes (COH) minus the crazy-blood- 
thirsty-soldier-blind ly-running-across-a- 
minefield-screaming-kind of passion and 
madness. A big chunk of COH and 
Command & Conquer players will like this 
one. This is definitely one of the best RT5- 
like games around today, alongside 
Company of Heroes. 

rossi_ fernandes@thinkdigil com 



NOVEMBER 2007 DIGIT 



119 



Digital Leisure I Game On 



Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Portal 

Bottom line: HL2E2 could have been better. Portal rocks though 



of the Half-Life 2 saga has been released. It's not 

that good, unfortunately. We're hoping that the 

1 lapses we detail below are because the develop- 

I ers were working on Portal, for there's no other 

I explanation we can think of. 

Ever since Valve decided to release future instalments of HL2 
in an episodic format, the innovations haven't exactly awed us. 
Episode One was interesting, but nothing compared to the buzz 
that surrounded HL2. Now along comes Episode Two, and it just 
feels like rehashed content. The solution to the various puzzles 
seem too obvious, and I could always immediately see my way out 
of the current situation. Episode Two will give you a maximum 10 
hours of gameplay, which is another irritant with the episodic for- 
mat-Pm officially changing my stance from a supporter of the 
episodes to the point where I'd rather wait five years for HL3 and 
get my days/weeks of enjoyment, instead of this 10-hour teaser. 



What's New? 

In order of appearance, here goes: 

The Hunter: A badass machine you'll often meet. It's 

fast, powerful, eight feet tall, shoots weird cannons, 

and basically spits venom. Throw something heavy at 

one and watch it get bowled over. The pulse rifle's 

alternate fire is a one-shot kill, and the 

hunters become the hunted if Freeman 

is doing his Schumacher impression 

behind the wheel of a beaten-"^ 

jalopy (see hunter, point car 

hunter, hunter go squish'^ 

The Antlion Worker: Th 

damn thing thr 

venom over long d 

tances, while jump 

and climbing li 

well, an Antlion. 

immune to water 

unlike regular Ant 

that drown in a pi 

Again, using the gn 

gun to fling boulders or 

cylinders (if available 

Workers proved to be v( 

effective. 

The Magnusson Device: In 

Episode Two, you'll face a do 

or more Striders. Sound reall 

hard? Not when Freeman 



vity gun to shoot 
this sticky bomb at a Strider, then just pull out any weapon and 
shoot the bomb. Kaboom! Strider-stew. If it weren't for the 
Hunters that accompany each Strider, these monsters would be 
as easy to kill as a stray zombie. 

Apart from the few new features, Freeman leaves City 17 for 
the first time and heads to White Forest. Scenery-wise, every- 
thing you do in Episode Two is outdoors or in caves. We won't ruin 
the ending, or too much of the plotline for those who still want to 
play it, but be prepared for another pot-boiler at the end-typical! 

Valve has also released Orange Eox-which contains HL2, 
HL2E1, HL2E2, Portal and Team Fortress 2-i or a mere $49.95 (less 
than Rs 2,000). If you haven't played Half-Life 2 or Episode One 
before, get the Orange Box now. Episode Two on its own is nothing 
great though. Portal, however, is a different matter altogether... 



Rating 
HL2E2-5/10; Portal 

Developer: Valve Software 

Publisher: Available at 

http://orange.half-life2.corr 

Price: US$ 49.95 




Vortigons bring her b 



entists. You can't live with 'em. ca 



J] 




tr 



Here's an FPS that's so refreshing, we'll 
tell you upfront that we gave it a 
9.5/10-almost perfect, if only it were 
longer. The game will give you about 
three to four hours of immense fun. 

Portal capitalises on the puzzle- 
solving that made HL2 what it is, then ^^BH 
adds a whole lot more. What might this Getting throi 
"more" be, you ask? If you thought 
physics was confusing, and life in 3D 
complicated, Portal takes you to the 
fourth dimension, allowing you to travel 
between two "portals" that you can cre- 
ate pretty much anywhere. One instant 
you're jumping down into a portal on 
the floor, only to emerge from the other 
end you'd placed on a wall. To compli- 
cate things, momentum is conserved 
when you pass through the portal, 
which means you come out the other i 
end at the same speed, but in a com- ^_ 
pletely different direction. Thanks to my GLaDOS tries to kill me 
nonexistent spatial skills, there were 
times I became so disoriented, I began 
swivelling my mouse around frantically, 
trying to understand where I'd ended up 
and which way was which. 

You start off as a test subject (an 
expendable one, obviously), being guid- 
ed by an Al computer called GlaDOS, 
who's teaching you how to use the por- 
tal gun. As you near the end of the test 
after successfully completing all the lev- 
els, GLaDOS tries to incinerate you. You 
escaoe of course, with GLaDOS oromis- 




escape of course, with GLaDOS promis- 
ing you cake if you come back. 

The game has a hilarious script writ- 
ten for GLaDOS, and a few times I found 
myself losing a level because I couldn't 
see through the tears squeezed out due 
to my hysterical laughter. The develop- 
ers poke fun at everything, including 
Black Mesa (the research centre respon- 
sible for all hell breaking loose on Earth 
in Half-Life), not to mention the much- 
promised cake-if you keep your eyes 
peeled, you'll find tonnes of similarly 
funny Easter eggs. 

In the end, you meet and combat 
GLaDOS, and have to kill her before she 
returns the favour. Listen to her dia- 
'"~ues carefully and try not to laugh 

irself to death. We expect to see thi: 
portal gun in HL2 Episode Three, or even 
a more complete and much longer 
Portal game. After you finish, some 
Advanced Maps are unlocked, which 
contain more challenging puzzles. 

Enough. This game is a must-play, 
the end-titles song a must-hear (we've 
provided the lyrics on the right). Mak 
sure you get it ASAP. 

robert_smith@thinkdigil co> 





s she loves me. Then I kill her 



diSit GAMING PC 

XFX GeForce 8800 GTX, Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, 
4 GB DDR2 RAM, Windows Vista Ultimate x64 



Staying Alive 

This was a triumph. 

I'm making a note here: 

HUGE SUCCESS. 

It's hard to overstate 

my satisfaction. 

Aperture Science 

We do what we must 

because we can. 

For the good of all of us. 

Except the ones who are dead. 

But there's no sense crying 
over every mistake. 
You just keep on trying 
till you run out of cake. 
And the science gets done. 
And you make a neat gun. 
For the people who are 
still alive. 

I'm not even angry. 

I'm being so sincere right now. 

Even though you broke my heart . 

And killed me. 

And tore me to pieces. 

And threw every piece into a fire. 

As they burned it hurt because 

I was so happy for you! 

Now these points of data 

make a beautiful line. 

And we're out of beta. 

We're releasing on time. 

So I'm GLaD. I got burned. 

Think of all the things we learned 

For the people who are 

still alive. 

Go ahead and leave me. 

I think I prefer to stay inside. 

Maybe you'll find someone else 

to help you. 

Maybe Black Mesa. . . 

THAT WAS A JOKE, (ha ha) FAT CHANCE. 

Anyway, this cake is great. 

It's so delicious and moist. 

Look at me still talking 

when there's Science to do. 

When I look out there, 

it makes me GLaD I'm not you. 

I've experiments to run. 

There is research to be done. 

On the people who are 

still alive. 

PS: And believe me I am 

still alive. 

PPS: I'm doing Science and I'm 

still alive. 

PPPS: I feel FANTASTIC and I'm 

still alive. 

FINAL THOUGHT: 

While you're dying I'll be 

still alive. 

FINAL THOUGHT PS: 

And when you're dead I will be 

still alive 

STILL ALIVE 

Still Alive f 



Digital Leisure I Game On 



Lost Planet: 

EXTREME CONDITION 



What do you get if you cross John 
Carpenter's The Thing with Starship 
Troopers and, in typical Japanese 
fashion, throw in a couple of hundred 
giant battle mechs? Originally released 
on the Xbox 360, Lost Planet finally 
winds up in the hands of PC gamers, 
becoming the first DXlO-compliant 
game to be released. 

With an absolutely laughable 
plot that serves no purpose 
other than getting you from 
beginning to end, Lost Planet 
manages to pack in gameplay 
that more than makes up for the 
planet-sized hole in the story. 
There's arguably nothing more 
fun than shattering the frozen 
corpses of huge alien bugs into 
teeny ice crystals. What works 
against the game is, ironically, the 
presence of the pilotable giant mechs, 
dubbed Vital Suits. 

Lumbering hulks armed with massive 
weapons, the VSes pretty much turn combat 
into a one-sided killfest. All that atmosphere 
envelops you as you trudge through waist-deep snow, 
or get chased through an expansive ice plateau by a giant 
worm. And what was actually enjoyable on the Xbox 360 becomes 
too easy and overly repetitive on the PC, simply because you can 
aim better with the mouse (unless you use an Xbox 360 con- 
troller), leading to a situation where you're just mindlessly blast- 
ing enemies to get to the juicy boss battle. 

Even though Lost Planet is the first DX10 title currently out, 
it is still a port of a DX9 console game, and it shows. The game 
does look much better than the Xbox 360 version at high set- 
tings in DXlO-with improved lighting, shadowing and particle 
systems-but unless you look really hard, you won't spot major 
differences between the DX9 and DX10 versions. Those who do 



play it on an Intel Core 2 Duo and an 

8800 GTS or higher, however, will be 

treated to a lot more eye-candy, 

including better kick-up from 

grenades, the extremely 

dense smoke / fire effects 

and some of the richest 

motion blur and HDR 

effects seen in a PC 

shooter. 

However, it's not all 

fun and games, thanks 

to the fact that Lost 

Planet enforces a 

strict Shader Model 

3.0 requirement on the 

GPU without actually 

needing it. And then, 

the PC multiplayer is 

borked for the most part, 

and provided you actually 

connect to a proper server 

on the PC or via Xbox LIVE, 

you'd soon get bored thanks to 

the dull variations on archetypal 

gametypes or the VS-hogging killjoys 

you'll find online. And if you hate the Steam 

platform, stay away from this game, since it relies 

on Steam just as much as Valve's games do-so you can't really buy 

the game and play it offline immediately. 

In the end, if you already own an Xbox 360 or plan to get one, 
it's best to stick to this game on the console. On the PC, it just 
becomes a really fun yet average shooter that has little to no 
replay value. While no-one who gets the chance to play Lost Planet 
will regret it, those who are planning to sell body parts over the 
next three months considering the thousand and one new titles 
being released, might want to take a rain check on this one. 




readersletters@jasubhai. com 



ffflHHUUFT 



RATING: 8/10, Developer: Capcom, Publisher: Capcom / Valve 

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Distributor: (Xbox 360)-Redington India 

Price: (Steam)-$39.95, (Xbox 360)-Rs. 2,510/- 




facebook 



The Law Catches Up 

A law student posted, on his Facebook page, a libellous 

picture of his university president. Authorities spotted it and 

gave the aspiring lawyer two options-apologise publicly or defend his 

actions legally. The student submitted a legal brief to his dean, but the prof. 

didn't find any merit there-and he will now face suspension. Lawyers!! 



Escape 



LEAKY FILTER 



Porn, Down Under 




Kids today... It has been 
proven that children 
will do anything they 
can to upset the well- 
intentioned plans of their 
elders. And if that means 
hacking into porn filters 
and posting a DIY on 
YouTube for other 
oppressed teenagers— didn't 
the Bard say everything was 
fair and all that? 

The Australian 
government, apparently 
worried over the 
proliferation of online smut 
and resulting corrupting of 
morals, dumped A$84 
million (about Rs 250 crore) 
into a state-of-the-art porn 
filter. They then collectively 
sat back, hoping to look 
over benignly as the 
hormone-affected 
population browsed 
National Geographic and 
Popular Science. But young 
Tom Wood— all of 16 years 
old— stuck a mighty blow in 
favour of free speech (or 

My Desktop 

Geno P T, Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu 
How he did it: 

Edited the layout of the keyboard in the picture; 
used picture-to-icon software to convert part of 
the screen to icons; the icons were arranged in 
their exact locations on the wallpaper. Changed 
font sizes to merge the icons with the wallpaper. 
Used Top Themes XP to edit my customised 
taskbar. Used Magic Tray to remove the Start 
Button and Taskbar items. And removed the arrow 
in the IE and WMP shortcuts! 

Participate in this contest 
and win next month 

Hacking Wireless 
Exposed 

by Johnny Cache& 
Vincent Liu 

Published by 

Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Co.Ltd. 



Nigerian Visa Scan 

Bill Gates recently needed to go to Nigeria. The plans were ready, | 
but the visa wasn't yet available... Nigerian immigration reported 
that until they were sure Gates wasn't planning to stay on in the 
country permanently, putting a strain on the country's social 
services, he wouldn't be allowed in. They did finally relent! 




insolent defiance, 
depending on your political 
leanings) by proving in 30 
minutes that the filter was 
nothing but a fancy piece of 
eye-candy. He was 
immediately hailed as a 
genius and saviour, while 
embarrassed officials 
scrambled to plug in the 
holes— without much 
success. The only comment 
from the authorities was 
that good parenting was 
much better than any 
technology. Needn't have 
wasted millions to find that 
out, eh? 

All the above happened 
in August. Considering that 
this was a pet project of 
Aussie premier John 
Howard, you would have 
expected that they would 
remove all the loopholes 
after all that publicity. 
Turns out, the thing is as 
leaky as ever— when the 
original hacker took it out 
for a spin, it still let in stuff 



that wasn't supposed to be 
in. And so other kids could 
take advantage of this, he 
posted a detailed video on 
YouTube mentioning the 
steps necessary for a free 
inflow of porn on 
computers with the filters 
enabled. At the time of 
writing, the technicians 
were still scratching their 
heads. We're sticking our 
neck out on this— they'll 
continue scratching for a 
long time! 

SIGNUP BLUES 

U Joinin', 
Dude? 



If you happen to read a 
recent presentation of 
the US Navy, don't be 
surprised if your first 
thought is, "Are they 
conducting a cultural 
orientation course for an 
invading force?" Well, we 
thought the same way, until 
we looked harder and found 
out it was a presentation for 




^ ^J 






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Send us your desktop with a description of how you 
made it to mydesktop@thinkdigit.com with the subject 
"My Desktop", and tell us your postal address, too. 



Whatever 
Happened To... 

Multi-angle Movies 

Back when the DVD first 
came out (feels like so 
long, doesn't it?), movie 
studios didn't really know 
what to do with all that 
space-a typical 2-hour movie 
barely filled up two VCDs (1.4 
GB); what were they 
supposed to do with 4.7 GB 
of space? One of the more 
brilliant ideas was the multi- 
angle movie-don't like the 
camera angle the director's 
chosen to show? Change it! 
You could watch races and 
matches from whatever 
angle you chose! 

Nice plan, but Hollywood 
had their priorities-they 
kicked up the video 
resolution, added subtitles in 
multiple languages and 
lavished us with higher- 
quality 5.1 channel audio. 
When it came to the final 
touch-viz. the multi-angle 
movies-they backed out. 
Shooting scenes from 
multiple angles meant higher 
production costs, and it 
interfered with the 
"directors' artistic vision"- 
you are supposed to watch 
movies the way they want 
you to. 

In fact, the only movie 
producers to embrace the 
idea of multi-angle movies 
were in the porn industry- 
for... ahem... obvious 
reasons. In fact, you can 
purchase multi-angle porn 
DVDs even today, though not 
in India, of course. In any 
case, the format hasn't really 
died per se-nearly all DVD 
players support it, but good 
luck finding a family-friendly 
movie with this option. 



Homeland Security floods inboxes after snafu with mailing list ■ All Calif, govt. Web sites shut down by mistake in response to hacker attack 



122 I DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



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Last month's winner: 
Saurabh Singh 

Delhi 

Participate and 
win next month: 

CAPM/PMP 
Project Management 
Certification 

by Joseph Phillips 

Published by 
Tata McGraw-Hill 
Publishing Co.Ltd. 




WIN! 

Send in your entry and you could win an exciting gift by sharing an amusing picture with a tech angle to it. 
The picture should have been shot by you, and should not have been published anywhere earlier. 
E-mail your picture with "DigiPick" in the subject line, mentioning your postal address, on or before the 
20 th of this month to digipick@thinkdigit.com. One prize-winning picture will be published each month. 



recruiters (the Gunnery Sgt 
Hartman of Full Metal 
Jacket type) on identifying 
with the MySpace 
generation— at which the 
Navy points out, "This is not 
about just a generation gap, 
but dealing with a 
somewhat alien life force." 

The presentation talks 
about pampered American 
kids in the age group of 17- 
24 (called millenials in 
military jargon) and then 
goes on to decipher their 
ilk. They have a few good 
things to say— kids are closer 
to family and friends, more 
socially responsible and 
passionate about their lives. 
However, it finds loads of 
flaws in their make-up- 
according to the Navy, the 
target age group has been 
mollycoddled so much so 
that GenNext has come to 
expect praise for just 
turning up for work. 

This generation had 
grown up with technology 
and have no concept of the 
Cold War or the Berlin 
Wall, which means Sarge 
better nix his plans of 
giving pep talks on the 
need to sign up and defeat 
the Red scourge. Neither 
would jingoism and 



xenophobia work, as 
MySpace means these kids 
have buddies in Godless 
China who are as close— if 
not closer— as the dude 
next door. 

The Navy glumly 
concludes glumly that 
living in an atmosphere 
where a Web site taking a 
little more time to load is 
worthless, it has a hard job 
ahead of it— made harder by 
the idea that joining college 
means four more 
irresponsible years that 
would be missed in 
the forces. 

There is also a little 
quiz on, among other 
things, who Shiloh is 
(Brangelina's baby, but you 
already knew that), or what 
an emoticon looks like!. The 
new age jargon of IM and 
SMS is also helpfully 
demystified so that 
recruiters could connect 
with their audience. 

Now if only they had 
included information on 
how to make friends on 
MySpace, this project 
would be a success. 
Otherwise the US Navy 
would be stuck with robo- 
sailors— not to mention 
mercenaries. 



IROCK 



Rocky 
Music 



Regan Ritter, of Fort 
Worth, Texas, was 
approaching 14. Like 
millions of people, she 
wanted a Video iPod for her 
birthday, so mom and 
daughter went to a store to 
get themselves a shiny new 
'Pod worth $350. But when 
the teenager opened the 
pack she found only rocks 
inside— no, not translucent 
rocks with orange and 
green streaks which you put 
on the coffee table, but 
ordinary, roadside pebbles 
which you might sometimes 
pick up and smash the 
neighbour's windows with. 

Regan was 
understandably stricken, 
but her mom had 
fortunately preserved the 
receipt and there was hope 
yet. They went back to the 
store with the box of rocks, 
hoping for a replacement. 
Fortunately, the employees 
at the store believed the 
story and agreed to give 
store credit (policy, you 




Scott Elliot 



People Who 

Changed 

Computing 

Smile! 

We all love our smiley s :■ 

—three simple symbols 

that can turn an otherwise 

staid 

statement 

into a joke. 

'Twas back in 

1982 that 

Scott Elliot 

Fahlman 

discovered 

that he could smile using 

the keys on his keyboard 

in this famous e-mail: 

I propose that the 
following character sequence 
for joke markers: 

■■-) 

Read it sideways. 
Actually, it is probably more 
economical to mark things 
that are NOT jokes, given 
current trends. For this, use 

h 

If it weren't for him, e- 
mail and IM would be so... 
bland. (Now it seems: how 
come no-one thought of it 
earlier?) 

Though he sort of 
revolutionised online 
communication, 
Fahlman 's first love was 
Artificial Intelligence, 
which he's spent most of 
his professional life 
working with. He's known 
for his work on neural 
networks— networks that 
imitate the behaviour of 
the human brain— and 
semantic networks, and 
has contributed 
significantly to the 
development of Common 
Lisp at Carnegie Mellon 
University. 

While studying at MIT, 
he spent summers 
working for the likes of 
Bell Telephone 
Laboratories, NASA 
Electronics Research 
Center, Honeywell 
Computer Science Center, 
Digital Equipment 
Corporation, and Alcoa. 
Elliot is now a Research 
Professor of Computer 
Science at Carnegie 
Mellon University. 




Teen hacks into 911 system, orders SWAT raid on neighbours! ■ Kim Jong II asserts he's a Net expert, but doesn't favour Net for North Koreans 






DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 123 



Escape 




Wild Wild Web 



Cryptography 

All about cracking codes and 
secret messages, 
"cryptography" has a 
glamorous Bond-like ring to it, 
though the actual science that 
goes into it is highly 
mathematical. That said, most 
of us wonder what exactly 
public key cryptography means. 
SSL: Secure Socket Layer is a 
cryptographic protocol used in 
e-mails, IM and other data 
transfers over the Internet. SSL 
and its related protocol, TLS 
(Transport Layer Security), are 
grouped in the topmost 
(Application) layer of TCP/IP. 
Public Key Cryptography: The 
most widely used type of 
cryptography, PKC uses a 
public key that is widely 
distributed, and a secret 
private key. The sender 
encrypts a message with the 
receiver's public key, which 
can only be decrypted using 
the receiver's private key. The 
keys are generated using 
algorithms like RSA. 
RSA: A widely-used algorithm 
used in PKC. It uses two large 
prime numbers to generate 
public and private keys. The 
keys generated by RSA have 
been very resistant to attack. 
Hash functions: These take a 
variable-length input and 
generate a fixed-length output. 
As used in cryptography, they 
are designed so that it's 
impossible to get the input data 
even by knowing the output and 
the function. Hash functions 
like MD5 and SHA-1 are used in 
digital certificates for verifying 
data identity and/or integrity. 
Digital certificate: These are 
used in online transactions to 
verify identities. They are 
typically issued by a trusted 
third-party Certificate Authority 
and have information that can 
identify the owner. 
Usage: RSA is a bit slow, 
though it's the best public key 
cryptography algorithm. But 
for foolproof security, use a 
hash function like MD5 in your 
digital certificate, and when 
you send the document to us 
enable SSL in your browser's 
security settings. 



Blood Money 

A contract killer with a heart 
of gold gets a hit order. He 
alerts the victim and gives him 
a chance to save his life. The 
only catch-the would-be victim 
would have to pay up. Sounds 
like a movie script, right? Well, 
this was the proposal a 72- 
year-old pensioner in New 
Jersey got when he opened his 
inbox-the amount mentioned 
was $8,000, with half to be 
paid immediately. He was also 
warned not to speak to 
anybody about this; his friends 
were likely to be involved in the 
plot and he would get his goose 
cooked. 

Harry Whitworth promptly 
smelt a scam and immediately 

know— no refunds) for 
another iPod, which 
unfortunately, was out of 
stock. A neighbouring store 
said they had enough stock, 
so the duo legged it to that 
one. Once bitten, they 
wanted to have a look at the 
iPod before taking it home. 
Due to another store policy, 
they had to buy the iPod 
and then open the pack. 
The iPod bought, the teen 
excitedly opened the pack 

and found it filled with 

rocks. Again. 

Fed up to the skin of the 
teeth, the Ritters demanded 
their money back. But once 
cash is in, it does not come 
out of the system. The staff 
suggested they pick up 
something else for $350. 
The daughter, her heart set 
on a Video iPod, desolately 
collected knick-knacks 
totalling that amount, 
while mom stood aside 
swearing tort action. 

Apple, as usual, declined 
comments while the store 
chain's PR department 
issued clarifications 
couched in homilies such as 
ensuring the customer's 
satisfaction and blah blah. 

We are guessing a US- 
wide, possibly global, 
conspiracy headquartered 
from a certain city in 
Washington state to 
infiltrate iPod supply lines... 



called the cops. After 
ascertaining that he wasn't 
involved with the mob or other 
unsavoury characters, the Feds 
included his name as a part of 
the US-wide operation. The 
cops hope to catch the scum 
behind the scam, though they 
have not much leads. Knowing 
how these scams spread 
though, we will be watching 
our inboxes. 

Listing Sin 

Information about peep 
shows, brothels, and massage 
parlours has always 
proliferated through word of 
mouth, but with the Internet, 
this information is a few clicks 
away-if you know where to 




HOSTILE TERRITORY 

Hate Thy 
Enemies 



"X" A yhat's the sine qua 
\/\/ non of social 
V V networking sites? 
Making friends, talking to 
new people, and so much 
more... But the operative 
word here is friends. You 
don't generally behave like 
a jerk; that people do at 
usual sites is beside the 
point. What if you're tired 
of keeping up an artificial 
fac/ade of sweetness during 
those days of the month 
when you go around 
smashing furniture 
and snapping at everyone 
in sight? 



look. A very good place is 
Craigslist— it's well-known, free, 
and anonymous. But Craigslist 
draws the attention of cops, 
especially if you list live sex 
shows near a church and a 
school. Now in the Windy City, a 
bored officer of the Chicago 
police was looking at listings 
when he came upon explicit 
ones that advertised live sex 
shows. You could, for $240, 
watch couples having sex. Pay 
some more, and you could take 
part. And so, the coppers 
raided the house of ill fame 
and took the performers and 
the manager into custody. 
We're guessing the first thing 
the manager does when he 
gets out is sue Craigslist... 

Everybody feels like that 
at some point or the other, 
of course. So if you ache for 
some good ol' bile, do 
yourself and others a favour 
by heading over to Hatebook 
(www.hatebook. org) and 
vent that ire. It's therapeutic, 
as shrinks have repeatedly 
told us, and there is that 
thing about keeping friends 
close and enemies closer. 

Hatebook, if you haven't 
already guessed, is a parody 
of Facebook. The look and 
feel is the same, except the 
colour scheme is a fiery red 
for Facebook's placid blue. 
After registering, you are 
welcomed with a "hello, 
sucker" message, which sets 
the tone of things to follow. 
Your profile is made up of 
fields like Music that sucks, 
Brands I hate, Movies that 
bother, Books I hate... you 
get the idea. People who 
visit you are Idiots, while 
you write Junk Mail to 
anybody and post on their 
Blackboard. You can add 
people you hate and bad- 
mouth them; the only limit 
is how wide your vocabulary 
is. In fact, being nice to 
people is frowned upon 
here; you have only enemies 
to add, though you could be 
friends with your enemy's 
enemy and join forces in 
pouring scorn on the poor 
blighter... We hate to admit 



Japanese woman pays $1,700 to Webmaster of suicide Web site to kill her ■ The Pirate Bay acquires domain of int'l anti-piracy group 



124 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Escape 



this, but we felt pretty good 
after we put completed our 
hate profile. While we are 
not recommending 
dumping Facebook and 
Orkut, Hatebook is always 
an option for those crappy 
days of the month when 
you are apt to burst a vein. 

SHARE AND DIE 

RIAA 

Trouble 

f I the RIAA recently saw a 
major victory in its 
-L. attempts to clamp 
down on music pirates: a 
court fined 30-year-old 
Jammie Thomas $222,000 
(Rs 8.8 crore) for illegally 
uploading 24 songs. At 
$9,250 a song, Ms Thomas 
will have to pay a gorgeous 
penny— if appeals to the 
verdict fall through. 

The ruling has 
undoubtedly warmed the 
hearts of copyright Nazis, 
leaving file sharers fuming. 
But we aren't talking about 
the implications or the 
legalities here; we're only 
going to point out how a bad 
lawyer can chuck you from 
the frying pan into the fire. 



Dietary Fibre 

J'ayesh, the quietest, most deserving 
member of our team, this month got what 
e deserved: a trip to Taiwan. Quite the desi 
at heart, here's all he had to say: "It looks 
like a quiet Nariman Point— a few tall 
buildings here and there." (N. P. is where one 
sees buildings tall by Indian standards.) Now 
all the while he was there, Rossi was 
complaining so loud about his deserving to 
go, Ed shut him up by slapping a cricket bat 
upon his head. Later, filled with remorse, he 
wept: "I'm sorry, Rossi, for having caused you 
potential death! Go to Taiwan, go, go, go! 
Here's $2.50 from my own pocket!" (Ajwani) 

And thus it came to pass: two trips across 
the oceans (or land, at any rate) in a month. 
Now here's the ghastly part: J and R both 
now have a contempt for Indian ^^^^ ^ m 
food. Whereas J has taken a 



DIGIT DIARY 



liking to tubifex worms, R's cuisine of choice 
involves lizard garnished with bat wing. 
(Actually, it was predictable: Jayesh is always 
in office by 9, and the early bird catches the 
worm— see?) Interestingly, as a result of the 
unavailability of aforementioned 
ingredients, they are both to be seen walking 
in a pair on the street, eyeing fat street dogs. 
We're hoping it's a passing phase. 

Meanwhile, news is out that we're 
moving to a place called just "CBD," where 
Bhaskar, Michael, Ram, and Samir stay. 
They're all happy, naturally, but Ram is 
actually elated because he can now have a 
proper siesta every day, as opposed to curling 
up under his desk pretending he isn't there. 

Digit does not guarantee the accuracy of any 
^ of the information presented above. No libel 
claims, please— worms are rich in fibre. 



After the RIAA's 
investigators had hauled Ms 
Thomas in front of the jury, 
her lawyer mounted 
arguments which even a self- 
proclaimed computer- 
illiterate jury member found 
laughable. The prosecution 
showed that the IP address 
used to upload the music 
files to KaZaa matched 
Thomas' computer, and her 
attorney speculated that a 
hacker with a laptop outside 
her apartment could be 



responsible. A credible 
argument, if only Thomas 
had used a wireless router to 
do the uploading. Expert 
evidence debunked the hand 
of Wi-Fi, and the attorney 
was left looking like a sad 
fool. The second mistake 
Ms Thomas made was when 
she handed over a different 
hard disk to the investigators 
when asked for the one 
containing the offending 
files. A third mistake was that 
her username at KaZaa 



tallied with her e-mail, 
MySpace, and online 
shopping logins. By this 
point, the jury members 
were insulted by the 
shenanigans of the defence 
counsel, who obviously 
thought them a bunch of 
hillbillies. And when that 
happens, you'll catch hell. 

Only two pieces of 
advice to the sad Ms 
Thomas— get a smarter 
lawyer next time. And a 
new username. El 





Bloi 


or 


Steve Rubel: How the Portals Will Win the Social 
Networking Wars 

http://www.micropersuasion.com/2007/10/how-the- 
portals.html (http://tinyurl.com/2ze3l7) 

Social networking is certainly rising and there seems to 
be no end in sight to the phenomenon. However, what 1 
do know is that people will jump around from one 
Myfaceborkutspace to another and not all of them will 
win. This is particularly going to be true as social 
networking evolves from a destination into a feature of 
every site. What does this have to do with the portals? 

...No matter which social network(s) you participate 
in, you're going to turn to your trusted communication 
system to manage it all. This will include any or all of 
the following: a) web-based e-mail, b) instant 
messaging, c) RSS and d) telephony tools like Grand 
Central. And who dominates those? 


fast. Things you wouldn't necessarily predict. Like a ten 
year old who can diagnose his dad's illness. Or a farmer 
that can ask his daughter to find out where to get a new 
part for the tractor. Or... 

The bravery: When Nicholas Negroponte and his 
team started this project, they had nothing but 
obstacles. The status quo of software and hardware and 
skeptics stood firmly in his way. And he took a lot of grief 
for the effort. Even when you're doing nothing but good, 
fear of change is going to cause a lot of people to object. 




WATCH 1 


^ 




Serious issues thi 
month. What's th 
connection betwe 
social networking 


s 

e 

en 

sand 


large portals? Then, 
the OLPC project still 
runs strong in 
blogging circles... and 
then, what's gotten 
into the head of the 


Duncan Riley: China Declares War On Western 
Search Sites 

www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/18/cyberwar-china- 
declares-war-on-western-search-sites/ 
(http://tinyurl.com/yuavds) 
If the Chinese Government were serious about 
censorship alone, we would have reports of page not 
found, not redirects to Baidu. It is clearly using its 
censorship regime to the economic benefit of a Chinese 
owned (but NASDAQ listed) company. Although the US 
Government is a poor WTO member, given that China is 
a recent member, the US Government should lodge a 
complaint with the WTO. China expects free and open 
access to Western nations but is now not only blocking, 
but also redirecting domestic traffic away from Western 
internet sites that compete with local firms. 




Chinese governm 


ent? 


Seth Godin: This changes everything 

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/10/thi 
s-changes-ev.html (http://tinyurl.com/ysmefh) 
Never mind the buy 1 give 1 (a great idea). Don't wait 
until November when you can directly buy laptops for 
kids right here: One Laptop Per Child - XO Giving. 1 just 
bought five. (Hit the Donate button). 

When you give a kid a net connection, access to 
wikipedia and to the rest of the world, things change 



130 



Brewery owner in New Zealand promises lifetime supply of free beer as reward for returning stolen laptop 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




Got an 
interesting 
question? 
Send it in with 
the answer to 
TQ@thinkdigit.com 
Mark "TQ" in the 
subject area. 



Master Of The Universe! 



The four ghosts in Pac Man are 
Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and... 

(a) Winky 

(b) Stinky 

(c) Roy 

(d) Clyde 






In which part of the world is 
'the AZERTY keyboard most 
used the most? 

(a) France (b) Germany 
(c) Spain (d) Russia 

jStarting from which version 
'of Windows did the 
Automatic Update service begin? 

(a) Windows 95 (b) Windows NT 
(c) Windows 98 (d) Windows ME 

jWhich actress co-invented 
'spread-spectrum 
wireless technology? 

(a) Hedy Lamarr 

(b) Brooke Adams 

(c) Nancy Allen 

(d) Elvia Allman 

©What is the word used to 
describe fake blogs created 
only to show ad links? 



(a) Strog (b) Plog 
(c) Splog (d) Grog 

©What do "Nimrod," 
"Perpetua," and "Terminal" 
have in common? 

(a) They are the new versions of 
MSN Messenger Microsoft is 
working on 

(b) They are the names of 
Google's main database servers 

(c) They are fonts 

(d) They are the names of 
the first Web pages ever 

k Which of the following CEOs 
'appeared on the cover of 
Time Magazine in 1995, titled 
"Master of the Universe"? 

(a) Jon Schwartzark of Sun 
Microsystems 

(b) Tim Wordsworth of IBM 

(c) Bill Gates of Microsoft 

(d) Daniel Borel of Logitech 

©What are the leaked memos 
now called the "Halloween 
documents"? 

(a) Internal Microsoft documents 
on Linux and open source in 
general 

(b) E-mails and cards sent to 



relatives during Halloween 

(c) Internal NASA documents that 
revealed their Mars plan 

(d) Internal Google documents 
that revealed actual plans for 
world domination 

©Which is the only Indian 
portal to be available in 
four regional languages? 

(a) lndiatimes.com 

(b) Sify.com 

(c) Yahoo.co.in 

(d) Rediff.com 



Most cell phone \dVOU 

companies don't tf ftO>N? 
use cellular technology 
any more, yet nobody uses 
the term "wireless phone." 
Calling today's wireless 
phones "cellular" is like 
calling your MP3 player a 
tape recorder! 



Answers 


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Soids (d) -g 


SlUBWrDOp }]OSOJD!l/\| 


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Crossword 






ACROSS 

8. Convert ordinary language into code(7) 

9. American multinational-leader in networking(S) 

10. Electronic device that restricts current flow to 
mainly one direction(5) 

11. Device into which data can be placed, held 
and later retrieved(7) 

12. The best selling latest game on Xbox 360(4) 

13. Software that periodically pops up 
advertisements on a user's computer(6) 
16. Bounded or limited in magnitude(6) 

17. space-moves the screen cursor to the 

left(4) 

20. Software copied illegally(7) 

22. Date and time relative to which a computer's 

clock and timestamp values are determined(5) 

24. Google Mail (abbr)(l,4) 

25. Web 'crawler' for Alta Vista search engine(7) 

DOWN 

1. 'R" in R0M(4) 

2. To move through a document either up and 
down or sideways(6) 


l 




2 




3 




4 




5 




6 




7 


8 














9 


































10 








11 




































12 










13 


14 










20 






15 














■ 


16 














17 


18 








■ 






19 










21 




22 


■ 




" 


23 


24 










25 




































3. -—cafe - where online services are available(5) 

4. New Technology File System(abbr)(4) 

5. Adobe's software program that converts documer 
PDF format(7) 

6. ASCII character ESC key(6) 

7. Small, compact portable computer(8) 

12. The first page on a World Wide Web site(8) 

14. A period or decimal point(3) 

15. To load and configure a piece of software on a 


computer(7) 

16.A pre-established layout for data(6) 
ts m 18. To exit a function or application without saving any 
data(5) 

19. Duplicator that copies graphic matter by the action of 
light(5) 

21. 'D' in DTP(4) 
23.— -drive-data storage medium(4) 



October's Winner: 
Yashodhara K, Karnataka 

Send in your entries to 
TQ@thinkdigit.com on or 
by 20th of this month. One 
lucky participant will 
win Wireless and Mobile 
MI-IP Networks 

By Yi-Bing Lin & Ai-Chun Pang 
Published by 

*W[ LEY- INDIA 




Last Month's Solution 




1 1 ' ■ p I "^ L ■ 

P ■■ T A L ■■ E M C A R T 

I ■ II ■ ■ ■ 

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Crossword by Nitta Jaggi 
DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 




It's Infotaining 

Your magazine is the best IT mag I have 
seen yet. I first picked up a copy of Digit 
at a friend's bash. I enjoyed it so much 
that I sneaked it out for myself. I enjoyed 
reading it so much... imagine my shock 
when I found out my dad too had 
subscribed to Digit! my happiness knew 
no bounds. From that day, I sneak the 
mag out from my dad's office. (I even got 
a rubbing once, but I still keep sneaking 
the mags out). 

Your tips and tricks help me a lot— 
those on Adobe Photoshop helped me 
get the highest marks in class! Your 
reviews even helped me choose the best 
MP3 player for my age (14). But what I 
feel is the best in your mag are the game 
reviews and Agent 001. 

I still have a few suggestions: Could 
you bring out a Fast Track on 
PowerPoint— I am real weak at it 
(surprisingly!). Then, could you publish a 
Digit Encyclopaedia again? It would be a 
nice idea to publish each letter 
separately in a month's mag. In 
addition, I'd like you to bring out 
reviews on RAM. 

Congratulations to you and the team 
for bringing out the fantastic Sixth Sense 
for your anniversary. I wish you luck! 

Arun 

Hi Arun, 

Glad to know that you love our magazine so 
much. As for your requests, well, our October 
issue did have a Fast Track to PowerPoint so 
that's done! In our November issue-this one- 
Agent 001 looks at RAM, so that makes it two 
down... 

Digit Encyclopaedia: well, check out our 
Fast Track for this issue-well, this is a different 
take on it: it's got almost everything covered 
that ever happened in computing. 

Do keep mailing us your feedback and 
requests! 

- Executive Editor 



Something For Everyone? 

I have been reading your magazine for 
quite some time. I have noticed that 
with every month's issue, in your 
magazine, there are lesser and lesser 
items in the included CD/DVD for 
developers, and more and more for 
gamers and others. While I can 
understand the commercial interest for 
inclusion of games in the CD/DVD, I 
can't understand your total negligence 
of a vast number of the developer 
community who as avidly wait for the 
arrival of your magazine on the 
newsstands. 

For more than two and a half years 
I have never seen your magazine 
including any Fast Track booklet on 
Adobe Flash, PHP & MySQL database 
Web application development tutorials, 
ASP, C# or the like. Also, there is very 
little coverage on Linux. I'm sure there 
are n number of just home users who 
would like to know more about Linux— 
for example, like how to install XMMS 
on Linux, How to set up a LAN with 
Linux (set up a SAMBA or NFS server), 
how to configure a 56 kbps modem and 
establish an Internet connection, how 
to set up and use a printer, configure a 
sound card, set up a wireless LAN, how 
to use Bluetooth / infrared / USB- 
enabled devices like a mobile phone to 
get connected to a Linux PC/laptop to 
transfer data/images/songs, etc! 

Moreover, I would request you to 
start a service, if possible, to send a 
quick reply at the user's e-mail address 
against their problems which they send 
for your Q&A section. Sometimes, one 
needs to wait for two or three months 
to get a reply to a PC / Laptop related 
problem through your Q&A, which 
actually requires immediate solutions. 

Partha 

Shillong 

Hi Partha, 

That's a long list of Linux how-tos, and we 
can certainly do some of them! The thing is, 
we're increasing the number of hands-on 
articles, and we do have plenty of ideas-but 
changing a format for a magazine does not 
happen overnight. 

About questions being answered 
immediately-that would take a full-time team 
of five! Yes, that's the way it is-we simply get 
too many questions. But I hope you notice 
that we publish the most educative Q&As, 
those that will help several readers, not just 



the one who asked the question. 

Finally, I'd like to say that we are not a 
developer-centric magazine, and we simply 
cannot please everyone. If you say you need 
this, a gamer will write in and ask us for 
more game reviews... mine is a tough job 
indeed! 

Hoping for your continued patronage. 

- Executive Editor 

You Are The Best: Q.E.D.! 

I am a reader from the day you started 
this magazine. It had a different then 
then. Your story is one of "Survival of 
the fittest.": I had subscribed to other, 
similar magazines as well but ended 
with only you! 

I am in Syndicate Bank as an I.T. 
officer. Till date I have purchased three 
desktops and now a laptop. I read your 
magazine daily— all the pages— within a 
period of 10— 12 days. I use most of the 
software you give on the CD and DVD. 

We almost get suffocated by the 
richness and variety of the material- 
software, games, movies, etc., etc.... 
This month's movie Zeitgeist is superb. 

I never went to an institution to 
learn IT, but self-learnt it through 
books and magazines; a major share 
goes to Digit. Thank you! 

Arun Meshram 
Nagpur 

Like I've said earlier in this space, 
Mr Meshram, it is letters like yours that keep 
us going. I'm glad you like our content, but 
I'm even gladder that our magazine has 
helped you learn about computers and IT 
without your needing to learn it formally! 

- Executive Editor 

Something For Everyone II 

I am a civil engineer and a great fan of 
your mag. I have been reading each 
issue ever since I bought the first one 
in May 2005. This is the first time I am 
writing— in a letter full of requests. 

One thing I would like to say is that 
although you are a tech mag, civil 
engineers and architects also use many 
types of software. You have 
unknowingly left an important lot 
alone. I would like you to dedicate a 
few pages of your mag to people who 
are helping India grow rapidly (only 
the tech part, I mean). If I am not clear, 
then I mean, include some interviews 
of people or a company like Arup (one 
of the biggest engineering groups). I 



130 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



Write to the Editor 

E-mail: editor@thinkdigit.com 

Snail Mail: The Editor, Digit, D-222/2, Om Sagar Building 
MIDC, TTC Industrial Estate, Nerul 
Navi Mumbai 400 706 



Digit will publish the best letters on these pages. Letters may be edited for clarity. 
Please include your complete address in all communication. 

For subscription queries, call the help desk at 
022-27629191 / 9200, fax 022-27629164, or 
send an e-mail to help@jasubhai.com 



Inbox 



had read about it in one of your 
competitor's mag. They have provided 
an article on this in 2005. 

Second thing: I would like to see a 
Fast Track to Linux— right from installing 
any version of Linux like Fedora Core to 
installing software on it. Also, a Fast 
Track to character animation using any 
free 3D modelling software like Blender 
or Realsoft 3D or Lightwave 3D etc. 

The cover design is always great, the 
artwork like drawings, etc need to be 
praised. The CD and DVD contents are 
very satisfying, and let me tell you, I 
have not purchased any software 
recently because I now use the freeware 
you give on your media and I don't feel 
purchasing any pirated stuff now. 

Viplaw 

Your requests merit very different answers, 
Viplaw. First, about a Fast Track to 3D 
animation-using various software-and such, 
they are indeed in the pipeline. We're trying 
to cover as many popular topics as possible. 
But regarding articles that would cater to, 
say, civil engineers, it is purely a matter of 
demand-and we'll have to see what works 
for us. I'm not dismissing it, but we will have 
to take the time to look into it. 
Thanks for writing in. 

- Executive Editor 

DVDs And DirectX 

I am an avid reader of computer 
magazines and have been buying Digit 
issues on and off. Till date I have never 
faced a problem with the CDs/DVDs 
supplied with the issue, but as they 
say, "There's always a first time," and 
October's issue of Digit was my first 
introduction with a malfunctioning 
DVD. I bought this issue from a vendor 
in Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi. May I 
request you to please send me a 
replacement for the DVD of the issue. 

The magazine is informative, but in 
general, the topics that you cover tend 
to be recurring— which is a bit 
dissapointing. For example, graphics 
cards is a topic which one gets to see in 
the computer magazines often. The 
introduction of DirectX 10 has not 
brought about a huge change in the 
gaming world. This may be a one-sided 
view, but I do feel that this topic could 
have been delayed. 

It would be great if you could add 
the full version of games as you done 
with this issue. I came acrosss SKOAR!, 
which does that, and the only problem 
is that all the good games are in 



multiplayer format. In India the 
Internet is still costly! If one can add 
good single-player games, I am sure 
it will add to your readership base. 

Sudipta Chakravorty 
New Delhi 

Dear Sudipta, 

I'm glad you've written in, but our 
customer care desk does take care of 
defective DVD problems-which, as you're 
aware, are bound to happen. In any case, 
I'll personally ensure your DVD is replaced. 

Regarding DX10, well, some people 
might say quite the opposite-that that's 
where gaming is moving to, and that we 
therefore shouldn't be stuck on DX9! 
Finally, regarding full versions of single- 
player games, I must tell you that sadly, 
getting licenses for these is a very 
expensive affair-we'd have to bump up 
the magazine price hugely to compensate. 

- Executive Editor 

Take Thirteen 

I am a regular reader of Digit. I read 
the article "Take Ten" in the October 
2007 issue of Digit. The article was 
quite informative although the author 
missed out on some of the best free 
cross-platform games like Wolfenstein: 
Enemy Territory, Urban Terror 4.0, and 
America's Army. Please have a look at 
this excellent thread regarding these 
free games: http://forums.erodov.com/ 
showthread.php?t=450 

I hope this information is passed 
onto the author of the article. 

Raman 

Hi Raman, 

Well, we had only ten games to play with 
(pun not intended), so some games would 
have to be missed out... in any case, I've 
passed on your link to the writer. I've also 
published this here for our readers' benefit. 

- Executive Editor 

The Fast Track To 
Fast Track 

I would like to own a copy of each of 
your editions of Fast Track published 
till date. If it's possible, do inform 
me regarding the procedure 

Bhavya Jain 

Hi Bhavya, 

You can get all the Fast Track issues in PDF 
format every year off our DVD. The next 
one is due December 2007. Don't miss it! 

- Executive Editor 




rflJ^ 



"Inevistable"? 

I am an ardent reader of 
your magazine, and am 
surprised that I rarely 
read letters from readers 
acknowledging your 
brilliant editorials. I am 
being very frank when I say 
that the article I look forward to 
reading the most is your editorial. I 
must compliment you on them, as every 
time I find them awe-inspiring and 
thought provoking. 

I'd like to share with you my 
thoughts on the Linux vs. Microsoft war. 
The Mint distro you provided on last 
month's CD is what set off a chain of 
thoughts in my mind. As I used Mint, I 
was very pleasantly surprised by its 
rock-solid stability, beautiful interface 
and out of the box usability, It struck 
me that Linux was improving at an 
extremely fast rate. I say improving and 
not progressing because progress can be 
good or bad, but in the case of Linux, 
every distro is undoubtedly better than 
the other. 

Now switching over to Microsoft for a 
bit, we all have to accept that Vista was 
very much below everyone's 
expectations. Perhaps we all expected 
too much, perhaps not. But the ground 
reality is the fact that it has been a 
whole nine months since the launch of 
Vista, and look around, no it's not 
catching up. Vista took Microsoft over 
five years to develop, and they released 
an OS that did not have enough features 
to make most people see reason enough 
to upgrade. On the other hand, we have 
so many new distros of Linux being 
launched every month and each and 
everyone with brand new, must have 
features. Linux is clearly poised to take 
the lead. 

But why just poised? Why isn't it? 
There is one very simple, very obvious 
reason. Software. If you want to play you 
favourite game without hiccups, "stick 
to Windows" is what even seasoned 
Linux gurus will tell you. Same for your 
favourite anti-virus, spyware scanner or 
even your drivers. But things are indeed 
changing. Slowly, Companies are 
finding it harder and harder to ignore 
the growing Linux user base. 

At the end of the day, you and me 
both know that eventually everyone is 
going to upgrade to Vista. But the big 
question is, will they do the same when 
Microsoft releases it's next OS? Or will 
they double-click on the little install 
icon in Ubuntu? 

Omi 



DIGIT NOVEMBER 2007 



131 




People And Events That Grabbed The Headlines-For Better Or For Worse 



No News Is 
Good News! 




A wise man once said: 
"Boredom indicates a 
temporary disconnect 
with the universe." And well, 
since we're trying to 
disconnect you with the 
universe anyway on this 
page, why not do it the direct 
way and bore you outright by 
telling about yet another 
leaked Internet video? 

Warning: Some of the 
"information" below is made up. 
Reader discretion is advised, and 
so is a salt shaker at hand. 

So on we go: the list of 
women— young, old, and in- 
between— who have tried to 
imitate Marilyn Monroe is 
quite endless: be it on stage, 
in music videos, porn flicks, 
etc. Why, even sweet little 
grannies have been known to 
claim that just by dying their 
white hair a little and 
putting on $599.95 dentures, 
they look like the original 
upskirt woman. (Salt! Salt!) 

Kylie Minogue, after her 
long struggle with breast 
cancer, is back in the studios; 



she's started recording for 
her upcoming album, called 
just "X". 

Now here's the boring 
point of our story: two songs 
she wrote and recorded with 
a Scottish DJ who goes by the 
outrageously inane name of 
Mylo were already on the 
Net— and one of them was 
available from Mylo's 
MySpace page. Silly of Mylo, 
but it gels with his name. 

A single called 2 hearts, 
which was supposed to be her 
comeback song— Minogue's 
first single since 2004— was 
leaked, too. This one had 
Minogue doing a pole dance. 
(Use the salt shaker.) The 
Austrylian Record Industry 
Associ-eye-tion (no, really; the 
RIAA does have competition 
down there), in a feeble 
attempt at order, removed 
copies hosted anywhere in 
Austrylia. Go ahead, mail 
them at ARLA@some.aussies. 
are.dumb that there exists 
such a thing as a BitTor- 
rent network. 



$0: Human; P2P: Divine 



"▼ A "Then will the Internet 
\/\/ community get 

V V mature? As in, when 
will they say "cease and desist!" to 
activities like the sharing of files 
(much in the manner of how 
young boys collect stamps) and 
actually use their proof-of-adult 
credit cards? 

UK rock band Radiohead 
decided to find out. It was a 
fusion of many things: good 
music (we presume), the desire to 
get going with Internet culture 
(they spell the album name three 
ways on the cover, including "IN 
RAIN_BOWS"), the noble emo- 
tion of not charging $20 or so for 
a CD, and more. Here's what they 
did: they released the album on 
their site— www.radiohead.com— 
and you could fill in any amount 
you wanted in the "pay" box. 

About a third of the first mil- 
lion downloaders did the square 




thing and paid nothing. Some 
misguided fans paid more 
than $20. The average? An impres- 
sive $8. 

(a) What those who paid 
more than $20 thinking, is our 
open question to our readers. 
Another open question: 
(b) 2.4 lakh people got the album 
off BitTorrent on the day of 
release; why? 



Lessons In Life After Linda? 




We mentioned last 
month that Sir Paul 
McCartney doesn't 
use ATMs or e-mail. But that 
doesn't seem to stop people 
from listening to and playing 
his songs, and even imitating 
him. Now the mail-free Macca 
has signed a deal with 
NowPlayIt.com, a download- 
able video training service, to 
hold budding bass players 
through his tutorials. 

The anti-Net Knight has 
already recorded his first 
tutorial for his song Ever Present 
Past, from his recent album 
Memory Almost Full. 

Other artists who have 
contributed tutorials to the site 



include Blur, Athlete, Placebo, 
and KT Tunstall. (Like you've 
heard of them.) The tutorials 
themselves consists of 30- 
minute lessons— from the song- 
writing process to playing 
drum patterns, everything is 
explained in £4 videos. 

So is this to aid the cause of 
his divorce compensation? £60 
million is a reasonable figure, 
we must say. But then we have 
no idea, really, how much the 
man has in his right royal bank 
account, and besides, it could 
well be the simple desire to 
share sought-after knowledge. 
Whatever the case, one can 
now officially say one learnt it 
from Paul! 



NOVEMBER 2007 DIGIT 139